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Investment in higher quality reaps rewards

Date Posted: 12 November 2016

In part this is due to improved availability through faster response times from maintenance engineers and more pro-active maintenance regimes, but there also appears to be a real renaissance in automatic washing, as it fights back against hand washing.

The market still sees two distinct categories of operator. Those that wish to sweat the asset irrespective of age, quality of wash or reliability, and those that choose to invest in high quality, added value, systems to compete head-on with the hand carwash competition.

Our experience shows the addition of soft brushes, an alloy wheel cleaner, gloss polish and high quality drying, results in a high proportion of vehicle owners willing to trade up to the top wash program, typically priced around £8 to £9.

To make the most of this trend, manufacturers are looking to improve what they offer the market.

For example, our principle manufacturer, Otto Christ, has launched a series of key innovations aimed at driving better quality and enhancing the ‘theatre’ of its premium range of rollover washes. These include: Wheel Master, designed to automatically detect and clean the larger than average alloy wheels found on modern 4x4s; Foam Splash, a foam curtain illuminated by portal mounted LED lights; Turbo Dry, which uses enhanced motors to determine the exact power required for the perfect dry quality; and Flexi-Brush, which cleans steep raking rear windscreens that standard rollovers can miss.

All these innovations are focused on improving the quality of the wash which in turn drives both volume and revenue. We have also seen a trend towards customers buying wider machines, with wash widths of up to 2.7m, to accommodate bigger, luxury 4x4s. Not only do customers feel more comfortable and confident parking their vehicles in the wash, the wider passage width greatly reduces the potential for damage to either the wash or the customers’ cars due to incorrect parking.

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