What is the current trend in the car wash industry in Europe and the rest of the world? What will be new at the second Car Wash Show Europe? Eric Wulf, Ceo of ICA and mastermind of the event, answers.
In this exclusive interview, Il Lavaggista talks to Eric Wulf, Ceo of the International Carwash Association (ICA), the organizers of the Car Wash Show Europe 2017, about what we can expect to see that’s new at the second edition of the fair, and about the latest developments in the global car wash industry.
The second Car Wash Show Europe will be held from 25 to 27 September in Amsterdam. What do you make of the participation trend among exhibitors and visitors?
We are excited about this second edition, and have every reason to expect a very successful event. We already know that we have more exhibit space than 2015, with several months still to go.
Our registration is also trending well ahead of 2015. Almost all of our exhibitors from 2015 have increased their space, and with the addition of market leaders such as WashTec to the show, we see very strong support for our concept of offering the only dedicated car wash event for independent owners and entrepreneurs in Europe.
What’s new in the event programme compared to 2015? What events should visitors absolutely not miss?
One of the most popular features last year was the car wash tours, and we’re excited to bring those back with all new locations. We are also moving all of our seminars into the trade fair, accessible by all visitors at no additional cost.
The featured seminar will be the presentation of the first-ever European car wash consumer study, which surveyed car wash customers from seven countries. The report, modeled on a similar report we’ve done in the U.S. since the 1990s, will provide new information that car wash owners can use to improve their business results.
Last but not least, we know that many of the products are services on display in Amsterdam cannot be seen at any other events in Europe – meaning visitors to Amsterdam can gain the newest of ideas!
Car Wash Show Europe 2017 comes at a time of renewed vitality in the car wash industry in Italy, can the same be said for the rest of Europe and the world?
I believe we are in an exceptionally strong period for car washing around the world. The resurgence in Spain and Italy, coupled with ongoing strong growth in the Benelux region and Germany is matched by expansion in Australia and an explosion in the North American markets.
We see the independent car wash operators, particularly in the conveyor and jet wash segments, leading that growth – which is precisely the segment that ICA and Car Wash Show Europe serves.
A characteristic aspect of the previous edition was the direct comparison between the European and the American vision of the car wash experience, which in some ways is different. Do you think this comparison could lead to the development of new products? In other words, what do you think American manufacturers and car washers can learn from the Europeans, and vice versa?
There are certainly distinctions between the two markets, from the products that are offered to how the customer choose to pay for their wash. But we are seeing a growing adoption of “cross continental” ideas.
For example, WashTec recently introduced their European style conveyor to the U.S. market with great excitement. At the same time, we are seeing European car wash operators adding features such as colored foam and detergents and LED lighting to the wash process – innovations that weren’t common just a handful of years ago.
Both markets also seem to be racing toward new opportunities in monthly unlimited plans and payment processing options. We see that the best operators are increasingly taking ideas from many markets in order to make their business even more successful.
Photo credits: ICA