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Industry Information & Inquiries

While there has not been a census or study done on the exact size of the car wash industry, we estimate that there are approximately 80,000 professional car wash locations in North America, and nearly the same number in Europe. The Australian car wash market trails in terms of sites, though understandable given the population difference. By type of car wash, those markets are organized as follows:

 Type North American locations  Europe locations Australia locations
 Tunnels (all types) 18,000 8,000   50
 Roll-Over / In-Bay 27,000  50,000  1,600
 Self-Service 20,000   11,000  300
 Total 65,000  69,000  1,950
 These are estimations only; does not include non-retail sites such as dealerships or car rentals, or non-automated car wash businesses.

Ownership Profile

The majority of car wash locations in the United States are owned and operated by small to medium sized independent car wash companies, whereas medium to larger sized petroleum companies control the majority of the European market. Yet in both markets, the greatest growth is coming from independent car wash companies and entrepreneurs. The Australian market is closer in profile to North America, with the majority of sites owned by private entrepreneurs.

Retail Activity
More than 2 billion cars are washed each year in North America and nearly 1 billion in Europe. Car wash retail sales are approximately $15B in North America, €5B in Europe and A$1.5B in Australia. 

Consumer Trends
In the mature markets of North America and Europe, consumers are increasingly preferring to have their cars washed for them versus doing it themselves. In the United States, the percentage of drivers that report most frequently washing their vehicle at a professional car wash has increased from approximately 47% in 1994 to 72% in 2014.

Supplier Activity
Gross sales of chemicals into the car wash market are nearly $1B annually in North America and €400M in Europe. Gross sales of car wash equipment and parts approach $700M in North America and €350M in Europe.

For Additional Information
Please click here with other inquiries. For the latest news on the ICA's WaterSavers program and the environmental benefits of professional car washing, please visit For information on The Car Wash Show, please visit For information on Car Wash Show Europe, please visit For information on Car Wash Show Australia, please visit

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