At their deepest, BG roots took hold in the difficult days of World War II. The seven founders of BG Products emerged from that war with their characters affirmed, their courage and vision proven. They set about the accumulation of 175 years of collective experience in the petrochemical industry before coming together in 1971, to form out of collective necessity a new company based on automotive products of superior quality and, even more, on the contributions of people working together in a common cause of personal and professional excellence.
In November, 1971, the partners took BG first two products to market: Engine Tune-Up and RF-7. The first truckload of 40,000 pounds of the only two products available left Wichita for a distributorship of founder in North Carolina. In our first full year in business, BG sold products worth just over a half-million dollars. In 1973, we achieved 17 percent growth. Twenty percent growth followed in 1974.
With virtually no track record as a company and products as yet unproven in the field, BG faced stiff competition in the recruitment of outstanding salespeople. Still, with an organization where quality of product and loyalty to distributors were the two principle tenets of doing business, there came in time some excellent new associates for our infant company. The early years were full of lessons. There were trying times as we worked out bugs in just about every aspect of the business, right down to how the product was packaged and shipped.
By the 1980s, the fabricator of all BG formulas had been sold to a new company which quickly decided to close the Wichita plant. BG purchased the Wichita facility and was now making the products it was marketing. With a research laboratory of our own and proprietary manufacturing processes, the company was ready to develop new products and to fully capitalize on its existing products.
There have been exceptional milestones along the way which have established the quality of our products. In 1998, our 300,000 mile test of BG additives in a road-weary Mazda finally came to an end after four grueling years. Monitored by independent laboratories, the test determined that the vehicle maintained the fuel mileage, performance and emission standards of a new engine. Our technicians completely tore down the engine and determined that all the engine parts were still within new specifications.
As the maintenance requirements of ever more sophisticated engines have grown from model year to model year, BG has kept pace with detailed, comprehensive educational programs, a commitment to education resulting in the founding of our own BG University in 1999. Every group clinic, every on-wheel demonstration of BG products and services has two overriding goals: benefits for vehicle owners and profitability for the professionals who use our products, equipment and services.
As we approached a new millennium, BG took a number of bold steps to set the pace for change in the industry. Recognizing a need to help our distributors create demand for our products, we initiated a brand awareness program that placed BG before a nationwide audience of industry professionals. The program raised the profile of company in trade magazines and racing venues. BG also began to sponsor auto-advice programming on radio and television.
Today BG additive systems include not only the product, but the service tools to deliver that product as well as complete training support for service technicians. Today BG does not just sell a product, we market service brands that expand the profit-potential of dealer service departments, while ensuring automotive maintenance of superb reliability.
BG Products was born of necessity. We have prospered because of opportunity. Opportunities created. Opportunities seized.
We have grown because of a rare stability in our ownership. Where competitors, as with the vast majority of companies in the petrochemical industry, have undergone merger after merger, acquisition after acquisition, BG has forged ever ahead under the steady guidance of directors in a line of succession begun at our founding with seven entrepreneurial war heroes.