According to a recently published market survey, “Car after sales – car care and accessory – market is close to $2 billion in India.” However, in India, there is a huge and proportional gap between the number of cars plying on the roads and those being serviced. Anckur Sama, Founder & CEO-CarzSpa AutoFresh Pvt Ltd speaks to Clean India Journal on car wash and detailing market in India.
N INDIA, the choice of cars is highly diversified. Dominated by both low-end affordable cars such as Nano, Maruti Alto 800 or Datsun and high-end brands – Audi, Range Rover, Jaguar, Porshe or Benz – the diversity affects the after sales segment too. “Positively, diversified choice of cars is boon to after-market car care stores. Following the after sales free services period, customers opt for diversified services offered at nearby car care shops for nontechnical needs, convenience, time and money saving. “This boosts the growth of local car care stores and the entire segment at large.”
With attractive dynamics and excellent opportunities are available to retailers and service providers, the car care segment is still not growing in proportion to that of the automobile sector. Are we missing the track? “We must separate detailing from washing first. They are two separate verticals – while car detailing is growing fast, car wash is struggling commercially, as investments are high. More than 90% of the cars are washed at home by the driver/ watchman every morning in the residential premises at a minimum charge of around `250-400 per month. With such cheap offerings easily available, car owners rarely go to car wash establishments. However, everyday home washing is incomplete. On the contrary, such kind of washing spoils the car and resultantly, all those services required for car care are availed by customers at commercial establishments. This is one of the main reasons for faster growth of car care / detailing market in India.
“The segment is facing challenges in terms of little customer awareness, lack of knowledge, professional trainings and dependency on skill manpower.
“Nowadays, many professional companies are working towards providing car care solutions. Selecting the right company and using their services could reduce the challenges.”
Fuel stations and parking areas witness cars/motor vehicles in huge numbers, yet do not have car wash facilities. “Even though car wash is being offered at many fuel stations, customers find it expensive compared to what they get at home.
“Compared to global practices, the technology being used is much modern but the methodology is wrong, as conditions are very different in India. Therefore, it is not completely right to compare with global standards.
“In India where labour cost is expected to remain for at least five to seven years, home washing by drivers or cleaners will dominate the market for car wash. As far as automatic car wash is concerned, with huge investments made, the ROIs are still low owing to the low volume of cars getting in for services and high maintenance due to poor water quality.”