Car washing, service areas, lubricants, vehicle care products and petroleum products


The vehicle washing market in France

Establishing the exact number of car washes is difficult because the car wash industry's representative organisations do not have a count of the number of companies or employees in this sector.
For the professionals in the "high-pressure washers" branch of the CNPA, the essential statistical unit is the car wash. They estimate that there are 4,500 high-pressure centres and 2,000 regular gantries. These units employ about 2,000 people, half of whom are proprietors.
The carwash sector has developed strongly in recent years. This development has been underpinned by brand creation and franchise development.
The main drivers of the changing carwash market are diversification, technology and environmental concerns, including the emergence of niche systems: manual, waterless or steam washing is a new and emerging market segment.

Petrol and service stations

For a number of years, the fuel retail sector has been facing major difficulties.
The sector's turnover in terms of value is stimulated by a price effect due to the rise in oil prices, while consumption in terms of volume has tended to decrease.

Competitive pressure from mass retailing results in the closure of many filling stations each year.

Supermarkets now account for 61% of fuel sales (compared with 20% in 1985), which is a loss leader for them.
Regarding fuel sales, turnover bounced back in January 2022 (+2.1%) for the mass retail sector, which has been selling petrol at cost price since the price hike.

Faced with this competition, professionals have diversified their ranges (selling of car accessories, maintenance, breakdown services, repairs, food, sale of newspapers, food products and sundry items, etc.) and are implementing loyalty policies (payment card for professionals, loyalty card, etc.).

The need to cover all areas of the country means that some independent operators based in isolated areas can survive.

The lubricant market

Domestic sales amounted to 523,909 tonnes in 2020, down 5.5% on 2019

The two main lubricant markets, the Automotive and Industrial sectors, were significantly down, while the Process Oil market (lubricants used in the formulation of other raw materials) grew strongly:

- at 275,017 tonnes, sales in the Automotive market were down by 7.5%
- at 188,544 tonnes, sales in the Industry market were down by 8.0%
- at 60,348 tonnes, sales of process oils were up by 15.4%

(Source: Centre Professionnel des Lubrifiants (Professional Lubricants Centre))
Lubricants, the key to fuel savings:
"Lubrication makes car and machine engines run faster," says Francis Jan of the Total Group.
New lubricants have been developed to reduce vehicle consumption. "In the automotive sector, the key is lower consumption," says Philippe Charleux, Managing Director of Total's lubricants business.
"This reduces CO2 emissions and extends the life of vehicles."

The sector's product categories

- Cleaning - vacuuming :
Autoscrubbers; Cleaners; Cleaning products (solvents, degreasing agents); Dust control mats; Dust removers, vacuum cleaners, injectors, extractors; Floor sweepers; Lubrication and cleaning guns; Parts cleaners; Single-disc machines

- Filling stations : equipment :
Battery charging equipment; Electronic payment systems (computerized tills, swipe card machines, etc.); Fuel distribution and electronic control equipment; Material and equipment for fuel transfer; Merchandising; Storage equipment

- Filling station, fittings :
Garage and filling station, fitting and layout

- Petroleum products - Lubricants :
Greases; Lubricants; Petroleum products

- Service stations: shop products :
Breathalysers; Service stations: shop products

- Vehicle care products and small repairs :
Additives; Air fresheners, sprays,fragrances; Alloy wheel cleaners; Antifreeze; Car polish shampoo; Chemicals; Insect and tree sap removers; Lubricating oils; Maintenance products for electrical and electronic equipment; Paint restorers; Plastic restorers; Scratch removers; Screenwash; Tar removers; Touch-up spray paint

- Washing equipment and products :
Car wash brushes; Friction and high-pressure automatic car wash arches; Friction car wash arches; High-pressure automatic car washes; High-pressure cleaners (hot, cold); Jet washes; Parts washing equipment; Reverse osmosis systems, water recycling; Self-service car washes and equipment; Spare parts for jet washes; Steam cleaning; Wash booths; Washing products; Washing systems; Water softeners

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