Cars waiting to be washed at one of the service stations.
DOHA: There is a huge rise in demand for car wash at the service stations of Woqod and this has forced the company to restrict permission to leave vehicles for washing for long hours, Woqod said yesterday.
A new huge car wash centre at Al Hilal service station with 50 percent additional capacity will be opened shortly as part of a major expansion plan to address the rush, the company said, responding to a report in The Peninsula on Sunday concerning Woqod service stations.
The report quoted some customers as saying service stations were forcing people seeking a car wash to wait at the spot until the service is over. Customers are no more allowed to leave cars for service and take them back later at their convenience, said the report.
The company said, “With limited parking at service stations” it is unable to meet the demand from all customers who want to leave vehicles for washing and in some cases has denied permission.
“In addition, to drive a customer’s vehicle even small distances at service stations the staff must have driving licences. Woqod supports its employees to obtain Qatari driving licences though this has recently become harder with the restriction imposed on new licences issued by authorities,” said the statement.
The company said it “will review on a site by site basis the opportunity to increase the number of vehicles customers can leave but for operational reasons explained above it may not be able to cater to all customer demand for it”.
The statement neither denied nor confirmed reports that three cars were stolen from service stations recently, but said there are strict procedures in place to ensure only the driver who left the vehicle take it back.
Mark Vidler, Marketing Manager of Woqod, told The Peninsula yesterday the company will strictly monitor whether these procedures are properly implemented.
He said the company is also working on a plan to encourage more customers to go for automatic wash, since it is faster and can help reduce the rush.
“An automatic car wash takes less than six minutes and includes full body and underbody washing, waxing and a reverse osmosis process on the final rinse to avoid water marks when drying.
“A manual wash, including underbody wash, takes around 25 minutes, plus 10 minutes for valeting the inside of the vehicle. Most customers prefer a manual wash and there is always excess capacity in automatic car washes at service stations,” said the statement.
The company said, “The quality of service and the relatively attractive pricing have created huge customer demand for washing vehicles at Woqod.
“We will encourage more customers to use automatic wash but ultimately it is the customers’ choice,” said Vidler.
As a real solution to the problem, more service stations with additional car washing facilities will be built and opened soon, the company said.
“A new huge car wash centre at Al Hilal Service Station will be commissioned shortly. This will increase capacity by more than 50 percent.”
Woqod has 20 service stations in either design stage or under initial construction and 17 of these have additional car wash facilities.
The sites will open from late 2014 onwards, nearly doubling the number of Woqod stations over the next two years. Three service stations will be modified to increase car washing capacity during 2014, said the statement.