Ford Motor Company responds to vehicle technology issues

CHICAGO — In January the International Carwash Association (ICA) provided an update on the latest work of ICA’s operator-led working group that focused on issues related to new vehicle technologies, according to an ICA press release.

The issues highlighted in the update include: external door lock keypads that can be accidentally engaged, transmissions that don’t allow vehicles to remain in neutral without the engine running and vehicle sensors which engage the brakes when an object is near.

At this time, Ford Motor Company has provided assistance regarding these issues. Ford explained in its statement in regards to door lock keypads, “We’ve recently implemented a design change that will prevent the keypad from locking the car when the vehicle is in any position other than ‘park,’ which should solve this problem on all future systems.”

Ford continued by reporting on transmission concerns, “Lincoln (2013 to present) and not yet production Ford shift-by-Wire applications created a feature called ‘Stay in Neutral mode.’ It is a mode, that when activated, allows the customer to leave the vehicle and/or turn off the vehicle with the vehicle in neutral. The vehicle will remain ‘awake’ and drain the battery during this mode, but it allows a customer to run the vehicle through a carwash without shifting to park. Other OEMs do not have this feature, and require the engine to be running to shift the vehicle. We are in the process of migrating this across Ford brand vehicles.”

In regards to vehicle sensors, Ford noted, “Though this may be an issue for other manufacturers, our system will not activate the brakes below seven mph, [which is] much faster than any carwash.”


National studies report shoppers spend more time in c-stores

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Two national studies found that shoppers are spending more time in convenience stores and less time in supermarkets, according to a press release.

The third annual Grocery MegaStudy by VideoMining Corp. reported that shoppers are spending five percent less time in supermarkets compared to last year, and VideoMining’s sixth annual C-Store MegaStudy found that shoppers are spending six percent more time in c-stores from the previous year.

In-depth data is collected from 14 million shopping trips to provide a “foundational understanding of shipper behavior.”

In collaboration with top c-store and grocery retailers, the VideoMining’s MegaStudy programs provide “detailed analyses of shopper interactions with over 220 categories, insight into behaviors of key shopper [segments] and a number of special interest reports.”

“Convincing time-starved shoppers to spend more time is a challenge that the convenience channel seems up for,” said VideoMining Senior Vice President of Retail Mark Delaney. “Our MegaStudy provides the next-level insights to understand what’s actually happening at the shelf and helps retailers and manufacturers crack the code for increasing sales.”


Carwash bill passes for New York City

NEW YORK — New York City Council passed a bill that will require local carwashes to possess licenses, according to the New York Observer.

In addition to obtaining licenses, carwashes will have to meet labor and environmental regulations, such as waste disposal standards and tracking vehicle damage.

The licensing process will require carwashes to take out a $150,000 insurance bond; however, if a wash has a unionized staff or a state-arranged labor agreement, the bond will drop to $30,000.

“We’ve held a number of hearings on this topic, and there’s a clear record of rights and labor violations in New York City’s carwash industry,” said council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito in a press conference following the bill’s passage. “This has been a very long fight for fairness in the industry, and today I’m very proud to say that the council is stepping up and passing this important piece of legislation.”

The Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union has led an extensive campaign “to unionize the city’s carwashes,” and some carwash industry leaders have labeled the bill “as a form of ‘extortion’ that will cost jobs.”


San Jose-based carwash forecasts influx in business following water restrictions

SAN FRANCISCO — After Gov. Jerry Brown issued statewide mandatory water restrictions with a goal to cut water use by 25 percent, the San Jose City Council recently passed drought rules banning home carwashing with potable water, according to KQED Science.

“I’m sure in summer we’ll see an influx in business, which is great,” said Jeff Wheeler of AJ Auto Detailing.

If residents have a shutoff nozzle on their hose, washing cars at home is allowed by most other water agencies, but with or without a shutoff nozzle, San Jose has banned it.

“A customer came in the other day and he brought his truck,” said Jordan Wheeler, Jeff’s brother. “He has a big yard and he has tractors and stuff, and he said he was washing off a couple of his tractors and a neighbor complained and called the police on him.”

The water at AJ Auto Detailing is recaptured, filtered and put into large tanks, and each gallon of water is reused four or five times.

Wheeler’s is part of the WaterSavers program, “which accredits carwashes that recycle higher levels of water and filter what they discharge.”

“We’re actually only using about two to 2.5 gallons per car, and that’s less than a dishwasher uses,” noted Wheeler.


Botswanan dealerships install state-of-the-art water recycling systems

GABORONE, Botswana — Multi Water and Multi Waste have supplied and installed two wash bay water recycling systems at Molapo Motors (6,000 liters per day) and Naledi Motors (3,000 liters per day) in Botswana, according to The Monitor.

The biological water recycling system is the first of its kind for the country of Botswana and is designed to “recycle wash bay water for reuse in car and truck washes.”

The two installed systems save up to 180,000 liters per month, which is enough water to sustain 50 people, and will also save more than $1,013 each month (10,000 Botswanan Pula).

Riyaz Arbi, director of Molapo Motors and Naledi Motors, came up with the idea as a way to reduce the dealerships’ dependency on water when washing vehicles.

“This system is environmentally friendly and treats water, biologically, without any added chemicals,” said Andrew Davies, managing director of Multi Water and Multi Waste. “The system reuses 90 percent of water from the car and truck wash bay. The remaining 10 percent is lost due to evaporation and spillage. The additional water required to top-up the system comes from rainwater harvesting tanks that capture rainwater from the wash bay roofs.”


Florida governor vetoes security bill for convenience stores

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Gov. Rick Scott recently vetoed a bill (HB 755) that would increase security requirements for convenience stores, according to NACS.

The Tampa Tribune reported that Scott stated the bill, which would require increased security measures for c-stores that stay open all night, would have “resulted in increased costs [for] small businesses.”

C-stores open from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. would be required to hire a security guard or install a window and drawer setup, install bulletproof cashier enclosures and add extra staff and stores in which the owner or his/her family worked during the overnight shift would be exempt from the bill’s regulations.

“Mandating compliance with the security standards in the bill would place a significant new financial burden on these small businesses, which is unnecessary,” wrote Scott in the veto letter. “I believe family-owned small businesses, working with their landlords, can better decide the appropriate security infrastructure for their businesses.”