australia

Automatic washers have evolved since the days of having to tape-down the radio aerial. A new high-tech machine at Expresso Car Wash, Melbourne. | Justin McManus

About five years have passed since a major drought in Australia ended. From 1996 to 2010 water use was restricted throughout the country in a move that affected many businesses that rely on water use. Among them were car washes.

But since the drought, car washes in Australia have made a bit of a comeback, reports TheAge.com. Now the country has 2,500 car wash businesses down under, including hand washes, self-service bays and automatic shops. There is also a new trend called car wash cafes where car enthusiasts go to buff their rides and also spend time with fellow car lovers.

The industry is expected to be worth $585 million by 2020, due to more apartment living, love of new cars, and a return of El Nino weather patterns in coming years, according to research by Ibis World, TheAge.com reports.

“As more people move towards apartment or townhouse living and closer to the city, we should see an ongoing trend for people to pay for the service rather than doing it in the yard,” said Claude Roda, managing director of Magic Car Wash in Australia.

TheAge.com reports that more change is likely to come for the industry as hand washes replace self-service bays, which usually take up more land. The article also said Australians are willing to pay for the service which is more environmentally friendly than washing their vehicles at home.