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Business Operations

Around the Industry

October 11, 2010
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Wash Depot buys 4 from Mace
Wash Depot, Inc., the largest conveyor carwash chain in America, signed a definitive agreement to purchase four carwashes on the west coast of Florida from Mace Securities International, Inc.

The agreement marks the first time Wash Depot has acquired a carwash since March 2005. The company currently has 72 carwashes in 13 states.

The four carwashes were sold for approximately $10.9 million in cash — about $7.1 million above the recorded net book value of approximately $3.8 million. The transaction is scheduled to close on Jan. 8.

In addition to the Wash Depot sale, Mace completed two separate transactions in November to sell two carwashes in San Antonio, TX for a total of $2.96 million, with a total gain of $38,000.

Mace still has carwashes for sale in Florida and Texas.

Mister Car Wash adds 9 carwashes
Mister Car Wash acquired the Car Wash Headquarters chain with eight stores, surpassing Autobell Car Wash to become the second largest conveyor carwash chain in the nation. The Car Wash Headquarters sites are spread through Tampa, FL; Birmingham, AL; and Mesquite, TX. The company also opened a new exterior-only site in Houston, TX, a week after the acquisition.

Mister Car Wash now operates 51 carwashes, 17 lube shops and three convenience stores across seven states.

In March 2007, Mister Car Wash was acquired by ONCAP, the mid-market private equity business of Onex Corporation. Onex, is one of Canada’s largest corporations.

Danny’s Family plans growth
Danny’s Family Car Wash, one of the 50 largest conveyor carwash chains in America, has signed a deal with Rowland Cos., the general contractor that built the largest Danny’s Family Car Wash to date, to build nine more facilities in the near future.

The latest 10,500-square-foot facility is located on nearly five acres and is the chain’s 17th location.

Danny’s owner Danny Hendon opened his first carwash in Arizona in 1984 and has numerous locations. Hendon’s plan is to double the number of Danny’s sites in the next two years.

ICA warning: Scam ahead
The International Carwash Association has been receiving reports that reservation companies are fraudulently contacting Car Care World Expo exhibitors and ICA members planning to attend the annual show.

These companies are trying to scam members and exhibitors into making hotel reservations through them by falsely stating that there aren’t many rooms left and they should reserve today.

These reservation companies are not affiliated or working with the International Carwash Association. Registration and hotel blocks for Car Care World Expo opened on Dec. 1, 2007 and can be verified at www.carcarecentral.org.

Jeep incidents spark TV investigation
Incidents of sudden unintended acceleration involving Jeep vehicles at two carwashes in the Virginia Beach, VA area touched off a TV news station investigation by WAVY 10.

A September 2007 incident was captured by security camera at Oyster Point Car Wash. The video shows a 2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee come barreling out of the carwash tunnel and slam into a truck — all while the brake lights are on.

Two months later, a similar scenario played out at an Autobell Car Wash location when a 2006 Jeep Grand Commander flew out of the carwash tunnel and crashed into a brick wall.

The TV station spoke with Chrysler representative Michael Palese, who stood by the company’s standard explanation of pedal misapplication.

Palese said carwash employees are using the gas pedal, thinking they’re hitting the brakes, or possibly stepping on both.

“It only takes two pounds of pressure to activate the brake lights, so just having the brake lights on in that situation does not necessarily mean that the brakes are activated,” Palese said.

Chrysler said it has no record of either of the Virginia Beach carwash accidents.

Misleading warranty on Chryslers
The Automotive Oil Change Association (AOCA) recently investigated a misleading warranty notice found printed under the hood of several Chrysler vehicles in Ontario, Canada.

The sticker read as follows:
DAIMLER CHRYSLER CANADA RESERVES THE RIGHT TO DENY WARRANTY COVERAGE IF NOT ALL OF THE RECOMMENDED SCHEDULED MAINTENANCE IS COMPLETED AND PERFORMED USING ONLY GENUINE MOPAR PARTS AND LUBRICANTS.

Chrysler Canada Inc. said the company “is not familiar with and has no knowledge relating to the notice…and the contents are not attributable to Chrysler Canada Inc. in any way.”

The AOCA believes these stickers may have been produced and attached to vehicles by a local dealer. An illegal practice in Canada and the U.S.

Fast lube operators who encounter this misleading notice language are encouraged to provide their customers with a copy of the written response from Chrysler Canada Inc., which has already been forwarded to all AOCA members in Canada. Non-member operators may contact AOCA headquarters for additional information, www.aoca.org.