Issues at carwashes surrounding new automotive technologies have been well documented in this publication and other important industry resources. Our market’s leaders, including its prominent associations, have been at the forefront of educating the market and working with vehicle manufacturers to come up with solutions for these growing issues.
Making news on this front in April was luxury giant Mercedes-Benz when it released information about its 2020 GLS model. Under the headline, “2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS features a carwash mode,” our Carwash eNews on April 18th covered this significant auto manufacturing development, which the International Carwash Association’s (ICA) CEO Eric Wulf called a “step in the right direction.”
Following the news, we reached out to Derek Kaufman, managing partner of Schwartz Advisors, which consults the ICA and informs our industry regarding these matters. Here is Kaufman’s reaction to the recent news:
“The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS has a ‘carwash button’ that is very close to what we envisioned in our 2017 report on ADAS [Adaptive Driver Assistance Systems] challenges for carwashes. Our idea then was to terminate all ADAS features, such as automatic wipers, forward collision, lane departure and autoshift-to-PARK transmissions, in a single carwash button that would deactivate those systems so a car can travel without interruption through an automatic carwash.
Our idea included a timing feature that would reactivate all of the systems after a short amount of time (enough time to get the car through the wash). The Mercedes-Benz carwash button does not quite go that far, but it certainly is a move in the right direction, and it shows that Mercedes-Benz has the convenience of its vehicle owners in mind.
It should be noted that the ADAS features on the GLS should not operate at carwash speeds except the auto-shift-to-PARK transmission. Mercedes-Benz includes instructions in its owner’s manual on how to keep the GLS in NEUTRAL for carwashes.
We applaud the folks at Mercedes-Benz for making life simpler for vehicle owners and carwash operators alike.”