Auto-detailing is in, and India is slowly catching up
Cleanliness freaks who compulsively scrub floors to keep pathogens at bay, need to look inside their cars. A car could be a safe hideout for an army of pathogens, says auto-detailing expert Anckur N. Sama.
The good news is that people are waking up to dangers lurking in a car. In the West, ozone treatment is becoming increasingly popular — in the U.S., thousands of auto-detailing outlets have cropped up in recent years. In addition, a huge number of freelancers provides car sanitising and sprucing up at owners' doorsteps.
India has less than a hundred auto-retailing outlets; and a majority of them belongs to the unorganised sector. Though the level of awareness about auto-detailing is low here in comparison to Western countries, Sama is confident of the industry's growth in India.
Sama, founder and CEO of Fortune Carz Spa, runs two outlets in Surat, and has franchised out 25 others around the country; so, his opinion matters. Sama admits that do-it-yourself (DIY) auto-detailing is rampant in the country. “Car owners in India have a fetish for waxing. But, waxes work in cold climates, not ours. At 40 degree Celsius and above, they melt.” Sealants are more resilient, and effective in protecting paint.
He says owners with an inclination for DIY projects miss out on the nuances of auto-detailing. For instance, “Synthetic and acrylic sealants are equally good, but address different requirements. While the former is more lustrous, the latter is hardier”.
Sama finds the interest evinced in auto-detailing by premium car owners, very heartening. While car detailing packages, ranging from Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 7,000, are offered for sub-compact, compact, mid-size, luxury and ultra-luxury cars, Sama pins his hopes on the luxury and ultra-luxury car segments. “When someone has spent a huge sum on a car, he is unlikely to scrimp on the maintenance.”
Another segment that has warmed up to auto-detailing is the premium used-car dealers. “They tell me a car that has received the benefits of auto-detailing fetches at least Rs. 10,000 more. Considering they spend just Rs. 3,000 for the services, it is a sizeable gain.”
The services at such “car spas”include intensive interior cleaning (with steam-jet, lather foam and spray extractor machines), ozone treatment, exterior steam wash with engine room detailing, under-chassis degreasing, a-glaze-to-the-paint finish, coating with polymer, synthetic and acrylic sealants, alloy-wheels polish, nano glass coating, anti-glare glass treatment, headlamp restoration, underbody polymer coating and internal panel anti-rust protection.PRINCE FREDERICK