GETTING a car wash is a cheap affair in Malaysia. You can have a quick wash at the drive-through at below RM10.
Even a mobile car wash service wouldn’t cost much.
In other countries, a basic car wash alone would cost double.
“In developed countries, it is definitely more expensive. But even in countries like India and Sri Lanka, it is more expensive to wash your cars. You pay at least RM20 to RM30 just for a basic wash. In Cambodia, a car wash is at least US$5,” says Goodlife (M) Sdn Bhd executive director Ong Chee Tat.
While this bodes well for consumers, it does little good for the rest of the industry.
“Because of the depressed washing prices, service providers can’t be spending so much on their car care supplies. So that makes it difficult for us to raise the prices of our products for the local market.
“Otherwise, this can be a very lucrative industry here,” he says.
Additionally, Ong notes that in Malaysia, particularly in urban areas, consumers tend to prefer getting their cars washed outside rather than at home. This further reduces the retail market for car care products.
In comparison, reports note that in the US, 50% to 70% of Americans wash their cars at home, which gives retailers steady business for car care products.
According to Ong, the market for locally produced car care products is only valued at RM10mil to RM20mil a year despite rising car sales.
For consumers who wash their cars at home, the products available for them in the market are mainly made up of imported products.
To capture a larger share of the local market, Goodlife has streamlined its product ranges to cater to different market segments.
Ong says its Perma Glass (PG) brand caters to the mid-upper market while Tupps, which is competitively priced, is targeted solely for Hypermarkets and DIY chain stores. Meanwhile, QPlus has positioned itself as a brand for hobbyists, home users and industrial use.
The company also has the PG Pro brand which has been developed for professional detailing. The brand is promoted locally through its affiliation to several motorsports events such as Grass Racing Autosports and Saturday Night Fever.
Although branding plays a part in boosting your products, and prices, Ong emphasises that one should be careful not to price themselves out of the market.
The company has also taken to packing their products in smaller quantities to make it more affordable for consumers, which would help sales.
“The local market is a challenge. This is why we are treating the local market more of as a testbed for our products to prepare them for export.
“The local market is just too small,” he says.
Careful steering through the market