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Car dealers can enjoy savings of more than £50,000 by switching to automatic washing

Sponsored: Istobal head of sales Chris Scott explains how it can reduce costs to maximise profits for dealers

Time 10:20 am, March 14, 2022

Car dealers can save a whopping £50,000 per showroom on the all-too-important job of car washing if they switch to automatic systems. 

That’s the view of Spanish vehicle-washing manufacturer Istobal, which has priced up some of the savings and increased profits car dealers can enjoy.

Speaking on Car Dealer Live, the company’s head of sales, Chris Scott, outlined why now is more important than ever to put some shine into dealer profitability.

‘Costs for everyone in society are going up, especially raw materials and energy prices, so it’s all about how you can reduce those costs but at the same time maximising profits,’ he said.

‘The ability to be able to save up to £50,000 a year per dealership on valeting while also improving customer service is a no-brainer.’

Family-owned Istobal has been trading for more than 70 years and is one of the largest wash manufacturers in the world.

The company has been successfully supplying the retail and motor industry with its automated vehicle washing machines, but in recent years it has been targeting the motor retail sector.

More and more car dealers in the UK are switching their valeting to automated systems and the reasoning is clear, said Scott.

‘If you’ve got a dealership washing 40 cars a day (consisting of sales, car, service cars and pitch cars) and you’ve got three or four people doing that job, that’s around £75 to £80 per person per day.

‘That’s a lot of money which works out at approximately £5-£6 per car. With automatic washing, depending on volume, that figure can be brought down to £1 per car per wash – and that can be even cheaper by washing more cars.

‘Over a period of a year, that saving can be anything from £50,000 to £60,000. A dealer has to sell a lot of new and used cars to make that sort of bottom line.’

And for large dealer groups with tens or even hundreds of showrooms, the potential savings are ‘huge’, said Scott.

A car dealer doesn’t just have the potential to save tens of thousands of pounds a year either, as the benefits to improving customer service levels are priceless.

‘With an automatic machine, a car dealer is getting the same finish every time,’ explained Scott.

‘With two or three people washing a car you could potentially get a different finish with every wash – that’s human nature.’

Scott also explained that with different programmes available on automatic machines, dealers can offer different levels of valeting.

A wash and polish programme, for example, could be added to the bill for a customer car’s service, giving a value-added extra for the customer while also making a tidy profit for the dealer.

Aside from the potential cost savings and improved customer service, there is another major benefit for dealers, said Scott.

‘Pre-Brexit and pre-Covid, it was a lot easier to get labour from different parts of the world.

‘Now, for obvious reasons, that labour isn’t always available and the labour that is on offer is often more expensive.

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‘We’ve heard stories of dealers having to ask sales staff to take cars down the road to the nearby hand car wash. That’s a physical and a time cost as well.’

Also, in the interview – which you can watch by clicking the video at the top of this story – Scott explains:

  • Istobal’s history
  • Why more and more dealers are going down the automatic car wash route
  • How interested dealers can install an automated car wash and start saving cash

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Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.

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