Sat | Nov 27, 2021

Total eyes three automated car washes by 2022

Published:Friday | April 30, 2021 | 12:26 AMAinsley Walters/Gleaner Writer
An SUV is cleaned at Total Wash in Portmore Pines, St Catherine, on Thursday. The Portmore Pines outlet is one of three eyed by Total by 2022.
An SUV is cleaned at Total Wash in Portmore Pines, St Catherine, on Thursday. The Portmore Pines outlet is one of three eyed by Total by 2022.

Total’s rollout of Jamaica’s first automated car wash in Portmore Pines is the first of three targeted for the Kingston Metropolitan Transport Region and Montego Bay by 2022.

Commercial Director Antoine Bennevault believes that competitive price points of the service – which ranges from $600 for quick wash (SUVs pay $100 more) to $2,000 for wax-and-polish services – will stand up to rivals of Jamaica’s generally low-tech, labour-intensive industry.

“We’ve had no complaint about the price. I guess people are getting value for their money,” Bennevault said in defence of the outlook on his company’s prospects.

“Speaking to customers, what we are getting is they tried it and return because they see the value, especially the fact that it is fast and effective.”

Officially launched on Thursday, first-time customers warmed to the novelty of the drive-through experience which has been a standard in nearby North America for decades.

An early customer said he chose the ‘Classic Wash’ for his SUV, $950, entailing shampoo wash, wheel wash and automated drying, finished off by car-wash attendant, Ranoy, who didn’t have much to do with his chamois, unlike the average car wash where customers spend an extra half-hour getting their vehicles dried and polished after half-hour of washing.

Comparatively, Total Wash is almost on par with $1,000 detailing services at other car washes in the vast municipality of Portmore, but with shorter time spans.

An important feature of the new entrant is its ecofriendliness, said Managing Director Christopher Okonmah.

“Soon, when fully installed, close to 80 per cent of the water used will be recycled,” Okonmah told The Gleaner.

Okonmah added that Total Wash’s technology was an improvement on earlier automated car washes. Material used for the rapid-rotating brushes are scratch-proof, safeguarding the paintwork of vehicles.

“Despite what the country, and the world, is experiencing with the coronavirus pandemic, we are happy to bring this service to Jamaica. It’s easy to use and environmentally friendly. We intend to have others in the island so people can enjoy the experience of washing their cars quickly and easily,” said Okonmah.

Total Wash’s ecofriendliness includes wastewater reclamation through septic tanks.

Kamala Johnson, engineering manager, said that the detergents used are 100 per cent biodegradable and water is treated on-site before disposal to ensure no contamination of the aquifer.

Bennevault said expansion to Montego Bay and Kingston was among viable options for Total Jamaica. He declined to disclose the spend.

“It is a substantial investment, but we believe in Total Wash. It holds true to Total’s commitment to delivering a great service for a good price while ensuring the environment is protected,” he said.