Interview with the new BTG Minden chairman
BTG Minden has just had a rejuvenation. After more than 33 years on the board of the German Association of Petrol Stations and Commercial Car washes, Joachim Jäckel has stepped down. He is replaced by the much younger Georg Huber. Our German colleagues of Carwashpro.de spoke with him.
Mr. Jäckel described your election as Chairman as a generational change. How will this generational change affect the BTG?
“There are a few years between Joachim Jäckel and me. I will try to tackle some things in the area of digitalization and thus become a little more modern. On the other hand, there are also 33 years of association experience as Chairman. I first have to find my feet and familiarize myself with the job. But I don’t intend to turn the BTG upside down now, because that’s not my style. Mr. Jäckel has done his job very well and laid a good foundation and I am now looking at how to make the association more modern with digital media and social media.”
You got elected unanimously. How did this happen?
“Mr. Jäckel had already announced his last term of office at his last election and declared that he would not be standing for re-election. He later asked me whether I would like to succeed him. The fact that he personally approached me with his experience to take over his office convinced me. From that moment on, I was already involved in the tasks of managing the association and we worked closely together.
“At the same time, I realize that I haven’t got to grips with everything yet, so I am still familiarizing myself with many areas.”
How would you summarize the current situation in the German car wash industry?
“I currently see three major issues in the industry: Everything to do with resources, i.e. water, electricity and gas. “We are an industry that requires resources, and no small portion too. Especially when you consider that we offer more or less a “feel-good product”.
However, the current discussions about water strategy and other political issues show that many people lack knowledge about the car wash industry. Almost every car wash has its own ‘sewage treatment plant’ underground and uses photovoltaics and the like.”
When it comes to the subject of digitalization in the German car wash industry, Huber is of the opinion the industry should move forward a lot faster. “I see the industry being about 10 years behind on this topic. There’s a lot of difference between the various car washes. We need to improve the customer experience at this point and improve the customer’s contact options. These issues will become increasingly important over the next few years.”
Huber also sees Covid19, the following supply chain crisis and inflation all have a considerable impact on the German carwash market. Not every car wash will survive this, he thinks. “Customers try to save money at the end of the month and they are also saving on car washes. This means that cars will no longer be washed 10 times a year, but only 8 times a year. This is affecting us. The figures show that the last two years have not been so great. The weather certainly has an influence, but we clearly see a trend. I could also imagine that there will be a market shakeout at some point.”