"We want to impress everyone", emphasises Christian Korte, managing director of the SEAT car dealership Korte & Meyer in Langwedel-Daverden in union with Ute Wehrstedt. At a location that offers direct access to the A27 federal motorway and from which the Hanseatic city of Bremen can be reached by car from the south-east after just under 40 kilometres. A location where services relating to all aspects of the automotive business plus all-round service are paramount – consulting, sales, workshops, soon to be tyre retail on the one hand, vehicle interior cleaning and paintwork preparation as well as automatic vehicle washing, self-service wash booths as well as vacuum cleaner and care stations on the other. The first generally visible impression corresponds to a highly modern, harmonious premises in every respect, the second is known to and cited by a customer of the car dealership who drove her vehicle, a black SEAT Ateca, into the wash bay of the brand new MEYKO care wash centre on a Friday morning at the end of November 2017: "I love this car and I'm thrilled with this wash." We are talking about WashTec's flagship in the gantry car wash segment, the SoftCare2 Pro in an elegant Silverlight design.
Christian Korte deliberately ordered the premium model from WashTec for optimum cleaning and care with many extras and awesome power. These include high pressure generated by powerful TurboNozzles to effectively tackle dirt, as well as WheelFlash and WheelJet for full-coverage application of washing chemicals and thorough rim and wheel washing, even for 21-inch wheels. He wanted the multi-dimensional MultiFlex feature in the knowledge that it could perfectly clean the hatchback, rear spoiler and sill areas of customer vehicles. He opted for the FlexStream rotary nozzle to perfect all stages of the washing process. And he chose SofTecs® Pur in order to guarantee gentle contact with the paintwork surfaces of his customers' vehicles for an extremely gentle but thorough wash. It was not without reason that Christian Korte had the XL version installed. "There are a lot of SUVs on the roads in our area. And the parcel service providers use high and ultra-high vans for their deliveries. I didn't want to miss out on washing these large and tall vehicles in the automatic vehicle wash."
Christian Korte has been working independently in the automotive business since 1986 and, together with his brand partner SEAT, opened a car dealership in November 1990 in an industrial park north of Daverden. "At the time, we had to wait three years to obtain the desired corner plot on which the Korte & Meyer car dealership stands today. Also the car wash centre project "MEYKO-Waschpark" could only be tackled and implemented after a six-year delay due to site difficulties. "The car wash centre was originally scheduled to start regular operation in 2012 after having already decided to do this back in 2010," says Christian Korte today. A man whose virtues include not only patience but also perseverance and willpower when it comes to achieving business goals. "One and a half years ago, I finally bought the site on which the car wash centre now stands. Following the successful acquisition, we worked with the architect to plan the wash bay, self-service wash, vacuum cleaner and care stations. The building application was adequately submitted, and the building and technology were constructed accordingly." A site located directly on Feldstrasse is clearly visible to motorists and will attract even greater attention once the 3.70 metre high advertising pylon draws attention to the MEYKO car wash centre from afar.
Christian Korte gives two reasons for this, which led him to opt for WashTec with no ifs or buts. "One of my acquaintances is a man who looks after five car washes with WashTec technology, which he is very impressed with. He also inspired me." The other reason is the 2010 International Motor Show in Frankfurt am Main, which he visited to take a close look at the car wash technology, see it in the flesh and make initial personal contact with the world market leader in vehicle washing. A good five years later, the WashTec sales representative responsible for the region, Manuel Springhorn, sat opposite him in the car dealership's office in Langwedel. "We looked at the key factors which are important for a well-founded, realistic profitability forecast. As a result, I opted for a fully featured SoftCare2 Pro gantry car wash." Christian Korte knew only too well that AUWA chemicals go with WashTec technology. "We want excellent washing results and highly satisfied customers. That's why washing chemicals from other suppliers are out of the question. That's very important to me."
The expert technology got an extra wide and also higher bay. More height was necessary because Christian Korte chose the largest available washing height of 2.90 metres. The side walls of the bay are much further away from the 2.48 metre wide gantry. "We already built the bay according to the dimensions of the washing technology and, in addition, intentionally a good metre wider than would normally have been necessary. This prevents the splash water from reaching the side walls so easily. Customers can also observe the washing process up close. I am convinced that it gives them a sense of freedom."
The length of the wash bay building is also above average. This was necessary because customers first enter and stop in a spacious pre-wash area. "The two colleagues who are in charge of the wash bay really enjoy their work. They show keen interest and are always in a good mood. This is passed on to the customers and creates an atmosphere that is very important to us," emphasises Ute Wehrstedt. "I always tell them," adds Christian Korte, "to serve every customer in the same friendly way as you would like to be served yourself. All customers should be made to feel comfortable. After all, our job is to make sure that they start the engine with a good feeling."
The four-bay self-service washing station is connected to the side of the technical room, which is also located in the building and connects the wash bay with the open-air washing areas. Translucent shed roofs span the three JetWash stations, whose technology is supported by a modern steel framework. Hand washers praise and appreciate the customer-friendly convenience for a perfect washing and care result. Thanks to the SelfTecs Wash & Shine concept, they elegantly get through all programme steps, whilst the self-service colour concept makes operation clear and easy for customers when washing and shining their vehicles. At the same time, Christian Korte took account of those customers whose high vehicles do not fit under the ceiling gyros. Customers with caravans and even larger vehicles not only benefit from the almost five-metre height and radius of action of the boom arm, but also from the longer brushes and lances. Thanks to the decision to use an osmosis system, the vehicles dry without water marks after washing.
The self-service car wash is also an expression of Christian Korte's commitment to the environment. The underground measures for the protection of the environment are triple secured – a basin made of water-impermeable concrete, sludge trap and safety plastic pipes leading to the washing water conditioning plant, an AquaPur2. "The manholes are positioned so that they protrude 15 cm above the ground." The result: "Customers would first have to be standing in the dirty water before it ran out of the gully. That is not possible", summarises the environmentally conscious Korte. He also praises the efficiency of the conditioning, which recovers almost 100 percent of the washing water.
Ute Wehrstedt and Christian Korte opened the car wash centre MEYKO-Waschpark Daverden with a great idea - "Moonlight Washing". For the unusual staging, they also brought in high-power spotlights and positioned them on the grounds of the car wash centre. The dark red-brown façade of the building was even more fascinating in the spotlight than it already looks during the day. And the FoamSensation foam wall illuminated by LED light delivered an outstanding visual experience at the opening. The entrance to the gantry is already spectacular in the dark, as the customers are guided into the wash bay by illuminated StarTrack guide rails. "I think", says Christian Korte, "that the effective lighting will attract one or the other customer to our car wash in future." Customers will also be attracted by the attractive possibility of becoming the holder of a MEYKO wash card. This eliminates the need for cash and interruptions at the start of the wash and subsequent washing process. "The response from our customers has been tremendous. In the first four weeks, we have already issued around 200 wash cards to our customers."
The MEYKO team ultimately noticed in the days that followed that there is a massive rush when the weather is fine. Christian Korte now thinks it's too great a rush, as the waiting times for the customers have become considerably longer. A situation that he would like to change in his "second life". "The next automatic car wash would probably be a conveyor tunnel system." – We will follow the car wash centre with the car dealership, have already bought the adjacent corner plot and in the meantime filed the necessary building application. All our business units will then be in one spot. They simplify our operations for the best customer service, making it easier for us to return customers vehicles clean after our service."
Text/ pictures: Bernd Fiehöfer