News from the industry
Mark VII acquired by German manufacturer
Mark VII Equipment LLC, maker of touch-free carwash systems, announced that WashTec AG1 of Augsburg, Germany, supplier of carwash equipment, entered into an agreement to acquire the business.
Since 2003, Mark VII has been the exclusive U.S. master distributor of WashTec's Softwash line of friction carwash systems.
Steve Robinson, director of product strategy & communications for Mark VII, said that the private equity firm that owned Mark VII for about the last eight or nine years had accomplished what they wanted to do with the company and began looking around for buyers.
“There was a process we went through with several potential buyers,” Robinson said, “and WashTec ended up winning.”
Mark VII will continue operations from its current headquarters in Arvada, CO, and will begin manufacturing WashTec's Softwash friction rollover systems in its factory in 2006.
Robinson explained that there won't be any large immediate changes, other than the fact that the company has a new President and CEO, Christian Bernert, a longtime WashTec employee who has run operations in the UK and Canada.
However, Robinson revealed that WashTec will absolutely try to grow the company in the future.
“The reason that they (WashTec) acquired us — one of the key reasons — is that the U.S. is the one big remaining opportunity for them,” Robinson said.
" They have not had, in the past, strong distribution in the US until they started the strategic alliance with us three years ago.”
“They are number one in the world market share, they have about 30 percent worldwide and in excess of 50 percent share in Europe in the carwash industry,” Robinson stated.
“The acquisition of Mark VII will add a new dimension to the growth potential of WashTec” said Thorsten Krüger, CEO of WashTec AG1. “Entering the U.S. market in a meaningful way has been an important long-term strategic objective for us.”
“Due to its important market position, complementary product range and strong recent track record, Mark VII is our ideal partner in the United States,” Krüger said.
To read more about this acquisition and Mark VII’s future plans, please check out the in depth interview with the company’s new CEO in the article "Mark VII's new captain charts his course".
Sonny's partners with European manufacturer
Sonny's Enterprises, Inc. and German carwash manufacturer Otto Christ AG, Wash Systems have formed a partnership to introduce a line of in-bay automatic wash systems to the American market.
“We have been working on this project for about a year, but the two families who own the companies have known each other for 20 years,” Paul Fazio, president of Sonny's Enterprises, said.
The first units to be introduced will include three brush friction machines featuring a choice of cloth, foam or Microclean wash materials.
The companies hope to combine the fit and finish of Otto Christ's products with the simplicity of Sonny's.
“By coming together with Otto Christ, we hope to secure the American market and offer the best product available,” Fazio said. “The attention to detail on the new units is going to be something the U.S. market has not seen.”
Wash chain partners with Pilot/sets national goal
Speedy Clean Enterprises, LLC, a company that operates Speedy Clean Auto Wash sites with full-service and self-service carwashes, in-bay automatics and lube facilities, has announced a new partnership with Pilot Travel Centers, LLC and also plans to roll-out a national carwash chain.
Derik Miser, owner of the wash chain, said that the company recently finalized an agreement that has been in the works for approximately four years with Pilot Travel Centers to become the exclusive wash agent for hundreds of Pilot sites, which will now house in-bay automatic carwashes.
Miser also said that Speedy Clean has plans to roll out a national carwash chain and perhaps partner with a large undisclosed retailer.
“We are on the verge of a large national licensing agreement,” Miser said, “that will make us the official carwash of 'something.' It's not a done deal yet.”
Miser said the national agreement should happen within the next 60 days.
According to Miser, the future national carwash sites will be a combination of full-service, fuel, lube, detailing and park and ride services.
Speedy Clean's first combination site, which Miser hopes will open in December 2006, will be located in Knoxville, TN, and the company currently has six site locations on the horizon.
Speedy Clean has plans to open combo washes in nine states and Miser said the company may eventually look into a franchise business model.
Miser started the carwash company in 2000 and has also recently developed a chemical company.
WashUSA announces '05 totals, '06 dates
The WashUSA committee has announced that they have closed the 2005 campaign with cash and donated services reaching over $165,000, bringing the total donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation® of America to more than $700,000 over the past four years.
“This is a fantastic effort by everyone involved. Through our efforts we have been able to grant 100 wishes to families who are faced with the heartbreak of a life-threatening illness,” WashUSA co-founder and ICA President Bob Katseff said.
“It has also raised public awareness of the professionalism and philanthropy of the carwash industry. I am so proud to be a part of this effort.”
The committee also announced that it has moved the 2006 event to Saturday, June 17, with a rain date of Saturday, June 24.
Wash chain expands express sites/thinks national
Splash & Dash Car Wash has announced plans to open five new express exterior carwashes in the Sacramento area by the end of 2006.
The Carmichael-based company specializes in the exterior-only model, offering carwashes starting at $5.95 that are designed to get customers in and out in five minutes.
This expansion will bring the total number of exterior-only, express carwashes operated by Splash & Dash to seven, but co-owner and operator Travis Kimball said that the chain is on pace to open six washes a year in the future.
According to Jason Johnson, president of the chain, Splash & Dash plans to continue adding national carwashes each year in the Sacramento area.
“There is definitely a lack of express exterior washes in Sacramento,” Kimball said. “There's probably only one or two in the whole city, so there's room for opportunity here.”
“We just think it's (express exterior) the right model for the way the consumers are going with speed and getting in and out,” Kimball said. “Labor was also something that we thought about. We have two people onsite at all times so it's definitely a much less significant headache of having to manage labor.”
Does Splash & Dash have any national goals?
“That's definitely something that we're interested in,” Kimball said, “but we want to do it right here first, in Sacramento, and then take a look at where we're at and what we want to do from there.”
Former Major League Baseball MVP opening wash
Former Major League Baseball MVP Mo Vaughn and two other investors are pumping $7.5 million into a high-end carwash in Attleboro, MA.
The “Mo Vaughn Express Car Wash” will include a touchless wash, a 160-foot tunnel, six bays for detail cleanings, quick-lube oil change bays, a gas station, a convenience store, a Dunkin' Donuts, and a mini baseball park out back.
Vaughn, who was the American League MVP in 1995, played eight seasons with the Boston Red Sox, two with the Anaheim Angels and retired with the New York Mets in 2003.