Glowing industry meets at the Car Wash Show 2017

The Car Wash Show held its biggest edition in 10 years by welcoming over 9,000 attendees and almost 400 exhibitors in Las Vegas on April 4-6.

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A general sense of positivity could be felt at this year´s edition of the Car Wash Show, organized by the International Car Was Association (ICA), Automotive Oil Change Association and Western Carwash Association. A growing car wash industry that is hitting record numbers in many departments met up at the Las Vegas Convention Center to showcase the latest products and discuss current and future trends.

Flashy neon lights, colourful foam walls, shiny signs, movement sensors and impressive tunnel washes were only some of the elements that showed the incredible evolution of this industry over the years, and how it has distanced itself from the old image of grubby roll overs, smelly sites and dirty brushes. A modern, strong and innovative industry was here for all to see.

“This is the biggest show we´ve had in ten years. The energy from all the attendees and exhibitors has been very positive,” said Claire Moore, Chief Organizing Officer at the ICA, at the end of the second day.

One of the new features of the show was the VIP program, that gave high-profile attendees the opportunity to enter the trade show earlier and have one-to-one meetings with exhibitors. “These are just little things that we did to improve customer-supplier relations and they have proved a success,” explained Moore.

Across the educational sessions, as well as in corridor and booth conversations, the hot topics being discussed by the industry were the effects of automotive technology, market consolidation, the rise of the express model, new payment methods and the opportunities of digital marketing.

Ernie Davis, whose company Car Wash USA has four sites in Texas, sees a lot of activity in the industry: “We came looking for reclaim equipment, driers, conveyers and tunnel wash equipment. The industry is in a good place right now.” 

Water reclaiming was also one of the key topics of this year´s edition. With many areas of the U.S. suffering from drought and states such as California imposing stricter regulations, water reclaiming systems are expected to expand across the country.

“After suffering from the recession the show seems to be picking up pace. It has been very good with plenty of people and traffic,” says Rafael Tomas, CEO of manufacturer Istobal.

While a significant increase in fuel prices and tougher regulations could affect the growth of the industry, most attendees and exhibitors felt like the new express models, as well as strong loyalty programs such as unlimited car washes, will ensure a solid future for the market.  

*PetrolPlaza will be exploring these issues, as well as those affecting the car wash industry in other areas of the world, in its upcoming Car Wash Special. 

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