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David Charman - chairman CWA
06 March, 2015

Spring 2015 may turn out to be a huge turning point in the car wash industry. The weather has been kind, resulting in the best start to trade for maybe five years. Could it be also that the new found wealth afforded to the motorist, with the falling fuel prices, has rekindled the love affair with the motor car?

Owners are driving further and using some of the spare cash to spruce up the family wagon. New car sales are also at an all time high; proud owners are far more likely to want to keep their cars as shiny as possible.

Those involved in providing the equipment to make this possible are innovating too. It's never been easier to buy new, or regenerate old, washing equipment. Chemicals and their applications are hugely improved, gone are the days when mean retailers watered down shampoos to save a few pennies. Now it's all about cleaning the car effectively and quickly. Jet wash owners can improve productivity simply by making cleaning quicker, the savvy ones adjusting timing rates to retain the cash margin per wash. Rollovers too can wash and polish cars better than ever before thanks to these innovations. This year at the Forecourt Show, there will be renewed interest in investing in washing.

But what of the industry associations proudly standing up for regulated car washing against the rogue operators? Well, the good news here is that they have doubled in strength too!

The Car Wash Association (CWA) continues to support good washing practices by informing all government departments of the issues involved in the washing industry, and now there is the CWAS (Washmark), which provides advice and services to the washing industry. I want to be clear that these are two separate bodies that, in their own different ways, will support the industry. I would like to wish Dawn Frazer all the best in her new business venture.

Those who read my quarterly column will remember that last time I talked about the issue of illegal immigrants entering the UK.

It appears that, as we near the election, this hot topic has attracted the attention of academics, and studies are now afoot to draw conclusions between the correlation of immigrants and illegal hand washes. The CWA has been involved in this and the outcome should confirm a viewpoint that so many of us already hold.


Following a deal agreed with Harvest Energy, do you think it will be good to see the Total brand returning to UK forecourts?