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What to do about Jeeps

April 25, 2013
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With the uncertainty of the economy, the weather, and natural disasters, the last thing any wants to do is turn away customers. But, at the same time, I’m not sure what should be done about Jeep Grand Cherokees and the fact that they have been known to suddenly accelerate while at carwashes. They have caused damages, injuries and special coverage, both in this publication, and on the web.

Most recently the Waterway carwash chain in St. Louis, MO, said it will no longer wash Jeeps at its locations. Chrysler responded saying the idea that Jeeps suddenly accelerate is an urban legend and if anything, it’s the fault of the operator when they do accelerate.

But, the Waterway chain thinks otherwise. And, by banning Jeeps from their carwashes, they are making a bold statement in saying the safety of their employees and customers is more important than upsetting the people who own Jeeps.

So, as an industry where do we go from here?  In a poll posted on carwash.com, we asked in light of the recent news regarding Waterway, will you continue to wash Jeeps? The majority of voters said yes at 89%. But, still 11 percent of those who voted said no. So, I wonder if that’s just the beginning? Will more carwashes follow suit?

Or is there a happy medium?

I know some carwashes out there have special instructions for employees when it comes to Jeeps. But, what happens when a customer is driving the Jeep. How can an owner or operator keep those drivers under control? I don’t think there is an easy answer or a “happy” medium, because it either means you turn away customers or you risk having an accident at your wash. Wait, let’s read that last sentence again. Turning away customers doesn’t sound as bad as having an accident, does it?

No matter what, the main thing that has to be done is Chrysler needs to do more to prevent further accidents. It needs to step up and realize that something isn’t right and put in the extra dollars and time and take responsibility.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Please write to me here at PC&D either by email at dgorgos@carwash.com or send in a letter to 19 British American Blvd. W., Latham, NY.  

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