News from the Industry
Mister Car Wash opens number 64
Mister Car Wash, the second largest conveyor carwash chain in the nation, has chosen Des Moines, IA, for its newest site.
The opening of the new location on 14th Street brings the company’s total to 64 sites with four in the Des Moines area.
“We’re excited to be adding another carwash in Des Moines. This latest location fills a key retail trade area for us and we’re extremely optimistic about its potential,” said John Lai, chief operating officer of Mister Car Wash.
Mister Car Wash also has 24 quick lube businesses in addition to its carwashes spread throughout seven states.
Runaway SUV kills woman at carwash
A carwash customer behind the wheel of a Toyota SUV lost control of the car as it exited the tunnel; killing one woman and injuring another.
The two women were sitting on a bench outside of the carwash. Investigators believe the truck was put in gear, the driver lost control and hit the two women before the vehicle flipped on its side.
The crash remains under investigation, but a recent ABC News report said Toyota owners are reeling after safety analysts discovered about 2,000 cases in which owners of Toyota cars have reported sudden unintended acceleration. In 16 of those incidents there were fatal injuries.
Toyota has said it believes the unintended acceleration is caused by floor mats which become stuck under the gas pedal, while car owners point to a supposed glitch in the electronic computer system.
The ABC News report said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has done six separate investigations of such acceleration surges in Toyotas since 2003 and found no defect in Toyota's electronics.
As Professional Carwashing & Detailing reported, that same day a Land Rover driven by a carwash employee in Crystal Lake, IL, hit two vehicles and a building, resulting in injuries to a mother and child. Only a week later, a worker at Tanglewood Auto-Wash in Roanoke County, VA, careened out of a tunnel in an SUV and crashed into a neighboring beauty parlor. There were no injuries reported, but there was extensive damage to the salon.
ME carwashes may be charged 5% sales tax
A new tax policy called “Act to Implement Tax Relief and Tax Reform,” could affect Maine carwashes if passed later this year.
If approved, personal property services including carwashing, dry cleaning, and pet grooming will be liable for a 5 percent sales tax.
The proposed Act is stirring up debate between the Republicans and the Democrats. Charlie Webster, chairman of the Maine Republican Party, said in the story, “Anyone in Maine who works with their hands is going to figure out who represents them, and it's not the Democrats.”
Meanwhile, House Majority Leader John Piotti, D-Unity, said the sales tax expansion is necessary because the state currently collects taxes on only 24 categories while nationally there are approximately 160 categories in total that are taxed.
InterClean wins two military contracts
Ypsilanti, MI-based InterClean Equipment, a manufacturer of truck and large vehicle wash systems, will build two military wash facilities after contracts were signed for construction in Fairbanks, AK, and at Fort Benning, GA.
This marks the first time the U.S. military has selected a wash and recycling system that deviated from their established design criteria.
The automatic wash systems will also include manual detailing stations and will be built to meet Silver rating criteria established by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Designs (LEEDS) rating system.
The Fort Benning wash, which includes 23 automated bays, comes with a $10.5 million price tag, and will be finished in 500 days. It is believed to be the largest single-wash bay design and structure for the U.S. military.
The company looks to have a busy 2010; orders for future deliveries are presently at an all-time high and production and assemblies are operating at full capacity. The company also plans to introduce several new wash concepts and designs in 2010.
WashTec releases third quarter results
WashTec Group, operator of the WashTec carwash equipment lines as well as U.S. subsidiary Mark VII, has released third quarter results which show a marked decline in profits.
Revenues for the Augsburg, Germany-based company after the first three quarters were down about 12 percent compared to 2008 and equipment sales fell by about 20 percent. However, the company said service, chemicals and its operations business were stable in the third quarter.
The company maintained a net operating cash flow of about $12.9 million EUR ($19.2M U.S.), only $3.4 million EUR ($5M U.S.) below 2008’s figure, despite the lower revenues.
According to remarks made in the release, the company expects revenues to continue to decline in the fourth quarter of 2009 by about 10 percent.
“It is not expected that the markets will recover substantially in 2010. Difficulties in financing equipment and the uncertain economic outlook will remain and therefore the delay of investments will probably continue,” the release said. “As a result, we do not expect a significant increase in revenues in 2010. The measures taken to increase efficiency and reduce costs however, should lead to an increase in the overall results next year.”
Over 100 carwashes fined in CA sweep
A two-day sweep of carwash businesses throughout California resulted in over $900,000 in fines and at least 76 citations for unlicensed carwash businesses.
Over 230 carwashes were inspected and a total of 141 citations were issued to 103 carwash businesses, including 49 which failed to provide workers’ compensation coverage for their employees, in the two-day sweep conducted on Oct. 28 and 29.
“Requiring carwash businesses to register with the state allows us to focus on those businesses that undercut their competition, which makes it difficult for legitimate carwash businesses to stay in operation,” said California Labor Commissioner Angela Bradstreet.
Recently Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill extending the Carwash Worker Law to 2014. The law requires carwashes to register with the state and to document their payroll.
Study of German carwash habits released
A new study produced by London-based Datamonitor has analyzed the carwash habits of German consumers and shown that over 70 percent of the respondents in Germany have used an automatic wash at least once; making it one of the few markets where hand carwashing isn’t used more than any other type of wash. The study producers pointed out that driveway carwashing is illegal in most parts of Germany.
In addition to the type of carwash used, the survey considered the frequency of carwash purchases and the customer’s satisfaction after purchase, among other criteria.
Key findings of the report:
• In Germany a motorist washes their car over nine times per year on average. There is a strong relationship between the number of carwashes and age as well as thenumber of washes and distance travelled.
• The most common carwash brand used in Germany was Aral (about 20 percent). The only independent brand to feature in the top 10 most commonly mentioned brands was IMO. Other independent brands captured in the ´Others´ include Mr Wash and Co.