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Around the Industry - May 2013

May 02, 2013
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Report: Car cleaning industry is worth $5 billion

A 2013 Car Washes report now available from Research and Markets states the United States-based carwashing industry, which included about 15,000 locations, has a combined annual revenue of more than $5 billion.

The report also stated that the output of U.S. carwashes is "expected to grow at a medium rate in the next two years."

The reason? According to the report, it's because of consumer spending habits and new car sales.

There are few economies of scale, the report noted.

$3.2 million winning lottery ticket sold at carwash

SPRING LAKE, NJ ― A winning Pick 6 lotto ticket worth $3.2 million was sold at PJ's Car Wash here, the Manasquan-BelmarPatch reported.

The March 22 story said the winner has not yet claimed the prize.

In total, 595,597 were sold for the lottery. The winning numbers, 14, 15, 17, 21, 33 and 49, were picked yesterday.

Swedish chain celebrates 15 years in business

BARRIE, ONTARIO, CANADA — Mjuk Biltvatt is one of Sweden's leading carwash chains, and this year the company is celebrating it's 15th anniversary with the opening of their fourth wash site in Gothenburg, Sweden, according to a press release.

The March 18 release stated that all of Mjuk Biltvatt's 150-foot express exterior tunnels are equipped with MacNeil Wash Systems equipment.

Sweden has very strict environmental laws, according to CEO Henrik Kronlid. “MacNeil equipment is safe, reliable, and produces an excellent wash quality, which our customers demand. It also enables us to meet Sweden’s strict environmental laws," Kronlid said in the release. “Every car wash in Sweden must go through a detailed inspection and meet very stringent conditions in order to be certified environmentally friendly. The efficiency and eco-friendliness of the MacNeil equipment allows us to meet these conditions.”

In English, Mjuk Biltvatt translates into "Soft Car Wash," the press release noted.

In-home carwash now available for $29,500

SCOTTSDALE, AZ — Now people can wash their cars in a commercial-like carwash at home, thanks to inventor Dale Retter, hlntv reported.

The March 13 story said for $29,500 people can purchase the AutoGreenWash and then have it installed in their garage for an additional $4,000.

The wash lowers a waterproof enclosure around the vechile and then 48 rotating sprayers wash and rinse the car which is then dried with warm, filtered air. The carwash also captures used water that can be used for home irrigation.

And, even though it's expensive, Retter said he thinks it will one day be as common as a household dishwasher. Retter said he hopes it will start out as a luxury device, but as the price goes down over the years, he thinks everyone will have one. 

State lawmakers consider tax break for carwashes

OMAHA, NE —  State lawmakers here are debating whether to give a tax break to carwashes, kptm reported.

The March 19 story said they are considering dropping a sales and usage tax for both carwashing and waxing, which could ultimately save a single carwash hundreds of dollars per month.

Pat Shannon, owner of Big John's carwash, said in the story that at $2 a wash, he loses about 14 cents per wash to a sales tax.

Public outcry cancels church's charity carwash

WHANGAREI, NEW ZEALAND — A church here called off a proposed carwash after deciding it was not suitable due to the current climate, the Northern Advocate reported.

The March 16 story stated that the church hung a banner advertising the parking lot carwash next to it's "pray for rain" sign. The wash was supposed to raise funds for the youth group's Easter camp, but it was postponed after two members of the public called opposing the wash.

A spokesperson from the church noted that youth group members approached the local council asking if the carwash was still allowed. The district council said there were no water restrictions for the city and the carwash could go ahead. Even so, the church postponed the carwash and the banner was taken down.

Manager who stole $60K says she's sorry

VAN WERT, OH — Betsy Bollenbacher, the former general manager of Westwood Car Wash, has been sentenced in court on the charges she stole more than $60,000 over a two-and-a-half year period from May 2010 to November 2012, The Van Wert Independent reported.

The March 14 story said Bollenbacher, 39, was sentenced to five years of community control and she has to pay back $10,583.20, which is the amount that was not covered by the carwash's insurance.

Attorney James Tesno said Bollenbacher was truly remorseful.

Before being sentenced, Bollenbacher apologized to her former employers, who were in the courtroom at the time. She said she apologized for hurting them and letting them down. She also thanked them for mentoring her while she was employed.

Detailer gets to appear with Jay Leno

GRASS VALLEY, CA ― Twenty-year-old T.J. O’Brien, owner of TJ's Auto Spa, got to meet Tonight Show host Jay Leno last Saturday when he filmed a segment for Leno's car-enthusiast website, Jay Leno's Garage, The Union reported.

The March 21 story said O'Brien, who uses a green steam device that only uses 2 to 5 gallons of water per detail job, is "stoked" to appear on the website with Leno.  He said the steam even helps to "lift dirt, kill mold and polish the wheel wells, engines and interiors" and it also removes bumper stickers.

Leno's website showcases over 200 automobiles as well as car-related technology and people who work in the automobile industry.

O’Brien said that ever since he was a baby, he wanted to work with automobiles. Today, he is living the dream. He is having to move his location to deal with his busy business and in six to eight months, O'Brien hopes his appearance with Leno will help his business to pick up even more speed.

Bottle of car wax costs $96,867

For the retail price of $96,867, a boutique car-care firm in Scotland is offering up the world's most expensive car wax, according to a YAHOO! Autos report.

From creators Mitchell & King, which is known for creating high-end car waxes, this car wax contains glitter and was made in honor of the upcoming GoldRush Rally, which is a lot like the movie Cannonball Run with wealth-flaunting participants. The wax apparently lasts for four months and comes in a 24-karat gold jar.

The bottle is also hand delivered by Mitchell & King's chief executive.

Mitchell & King also made it known that the wax is specifically suited for an exclusive crowd and they have to right to refuse purchase.

Detailing in Australia grows in spite of challenges

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA — According to a report compiled by IBISWorld, the detailing and carwash industry in Australia managed to succeed in spite of a poor economic environment and falling discretionary spending.

The March 13 press release stated that changing social and environmental mores have boded well for the industry. In fact, in the five years through 2012-2013, industry revenue is expected to increase 1.9 percent per annum and total AUS $505.4 million.

IBISWorld industry analyst Naren Sivasailam said in the release, “The depths of the financial crisis coincided with the worst of the drought, which helped the industry grow during an otherwise vulnerable economic period."

The strict water regulations and busy customer lifestyles have resulted in growing demand for detailing and carwashing. Thus, many commercial car care operations in Australia have marketed themselves as environmentally friendly using high-pressure hoses that require less water and recycling most of their water.

Strong income growth is expected for Australians over the next few years, but the number of new cars is likely to plateau, the release noted.

Letter to the editor praises Simoniz carwash

DAVENPORT, IA ― A letter to the editor which appeared in the Quad-City Times praised the manager and staff at the Simoniz carwash here.

The March 23 letter, written by Pam Guzzo, stated that she had accidently missed the track when driving up to the start of the tunnel. Her hubcap has broken as a result.

"Without hesitation," Guzzo wrote, "the young man went to the office and seconds later the manager, Travis Johnson, appeared, assessed the damage, apologized for the mishap and instructed me to wait for him at the end of the wash. I wasn’t even out of the last rinse cycle when I could see Travis standing near the exit with clipboard, paperwork and camera in hand."

Guzzo said that a few days later she got the call that her hubcap had arrived and should come come in and they would put it on her car.

"Not only did they remove the old hub cap and replace it with a shiny new one, but they also ran my car through the wash! Now that’s customer service! Thank you Simoniz staff."