Although you seem to see lots of very new cars on the roads, the age of the average car on the road today is in fact eight years. Of course cars change hands all the time and, in an average car’s lifetime, it will have four owners overall. But whether owners are holding on to their cars or selling them on, they’ll need to keep them in the best shape possible to keep them running or to get the best price possible when they do sell them.

Graham Tissiman, sales and marketing manager at the Convenience Distribution Group (CDG), says that generally older cars give forecourt retailers more opportunity to sell distress products such as bulbs, tow ropes, jump leads and fuses. "Anti-freeze opportunities also increase as the product is used as a summer coolant to help prevent the engine boiling over. Plus older cars will burn more oil, which again should give improved sales of lubes."

There are definitely seasonal trends when it comes to sales of car care products. In the winter de-icers, scrapers, anti-freeze and screenwash sell more due to weather conditions. Tissiman says that other distress products such as tow ropes and jump leads sell more too, but not exclusively in winter.

"In the summer we see more sales in valeting and cleaning products: car polish, shampoo, sponges and also specialist cleaners such as wheel cleaners, glass cleaners and cockpit shines," he explains.

Despite the popularity of hand car washes and high-tech automatic car washes, many people still prefer to do the car washing themselves. Tissiman says these people will be looking for brand leaders to help them do the job such as Turtle Wax Hard Shell Shine and Turtle Wax Zip Wax Car Shampoo.

"Along with these lines there is the opportunity to sell complementary products such as sponges and micro-fibre cleaning cloths. There are also specialist-cleaning products such as Simoniz Alloy Wheel Cleaner and Simoniz Back to Black Wet Look Tyre Shine. For the interior of the car there are upholstery cleaners, glass cleaners and Cockpit Shine. One of the most popular ranges is Armorall Wipes, which are a simple way to clean the car."

Tissiman says there are many lines that should be stocked all year round including air fresheners as they are popular as an impulse purchase.

"Air freshener sales continue to grow. Our advice would be to stock brand leaders and names that customers recognise which instils confidence when buying the products. Examples of brand-leading air fresheners include Little Trees, Jelly Belly and Neutradol. And the new Lynx air freshener is associated with a well-known brand name which will give positive associations."

CDG can provide retailers with a Little Trees air freshener stand, which holds four different varieties. Tissiman recommends retailers put the four best-selling fragrances on the stand: Vanillaroma, New Car Scent, Wild Cherry and Black Ice. Wholesale price of the air fresheners is 59p each and recommended retail is £1.99, which delivers a profit on return of 64%.

Another air-freshening product available from CDG is the Blast Can which features a high-pressure blast nozzle and actuator system designed to freshen up any space (including cars and vans) quickly and effectively. There are four scents: Blackcode, Classic Cherry, Fresh Linen and Ventus. Wholesale price is £2.39 per can but rrp is £4.99, delivering a profit on return of 43%.

Tissiman adds that fuel cans and oil are also all-year-round lines along with additives such as Redex and STP, which help keep the fuel system clean and can help towards passing MOTs due to improving emissions.

"Forecourt retailers should devote space to car care as the category gives exceptional high margins, well over 40% and it also satisfies customer expectations of a forecourt as they expect to see car care products in the forecourt store."

Tissiman points to the fact that cars today actually tell the driver when they need car care items. "Examples include the warning light going on when the car is low on oil or AdBlue. In the winter the hazard warning light will go on when the outside temperature approaches freezing, which is a great prompt to purchase de-icers, scrapers, screenwash and antifreeze. A warning light will go on when the car is low on screenwash or antifreeze and the forecourt is the ideal place for the motorist to purchase these items.

"There are also distress products such as car bulbs, tow rope, jump leads and fuel cans that maybe required when the motorist is out and about and the forecourt is again the perfect place to make these purchases."

Nigel Williams, AdBlue forecourt sales manager for UK and Ireland at Yara, says the need for AdBlue is an opportunity for retailers to really increase their product portfolio and sales.

He explains that it is estimated that the annual consumption of AdBlue is significantly higher than well-known automotive fluids such as engine oil, coolants, brake fluid and even windscreen-washer fluid.

Different packaging

Most cars with diesel engines above 1.6ltr in capacity have SCR (selective catalytic reduction) systems and therefore require the addition of AdBlue.

Yara offers many different packaging types of AdBlue to the end consumer, from bulk AdBlue direct from the pump, to five and 10ltr cans and 3.5ltr pouches.

Williams says the 3.5ltr custom-designed pouches of AdBlue are aimed at the car market and are quick and easy to use. Features include: integrated design, specifically developed for AdBlue re-filling; the long integrated nozzle removes the need for separate screw-on elements; the collapsible pouch makes for a faster and cleaner refill with no spills; it prevents crystallisation, smells and contamination caused by spillage; it is disposable as a flat, empty package creating less refuse on site and less landfill; and the CO2 footprint of Yara’s AdBlue 3.5ltr pouches is approximately two-thirds less than that of a conventional can

To help drive sales, Yara in partnership with Convenience Distribution Group offers a custom-made Retail Display Pod. When marketed correctly to the consumer, Williams says this can help boost site sales by at least 50%. "In an 18-week period at a site in North East Lincolnshire where the first Pod was placed the weekly sales of AdBlue pouches increased by 57% just by displaying them in this Pod on site, which is an excellent example of how the right marketing and placing of a product helps drive sales on the forecourt," explains Williams."

One satisfied customer is Rob Exelby, managing director of Exelby Services Ltd, who says: "We’ve been very happy with the increase in AdBlue pouch sales following the addition of a dedicated display fixture which was supplied through CDG.

"The 3.5ltr pouch is a very handy size solution, which fits nicely within our range of AdBlue cartons. We’ll certainly be introducing this at our other sites in the near future."


Since 2016, AdBlue has been required in most new diesel cars and vans in Europe. This came as a result of the introduction of the Real Driving Emissions regulation, to satisfy EURO 6 legislation which dictates that passenger car NOx emissions must be no higher than 80mg/km.
In addition, and again to satisfy legislation, all diesel cars with SCR (selective catalytic reduction) technology must always have AdBlue in their dedicated AdBlue tank from first fill (when they have been manufactured) to regular refills throughout the car’s life.

new products

Simoniz Back to Black Wet Look Tyre Shine is guaranteed to restore, protect and shine a car’s tyres. Simoniz says it is easy to use as it sprays on evenly. It also helps keep tyres looking their best as it creates a barrier to prevent damage.
Convenience Distribution Group has added Turtle Wax Scratch Remover to its Summer Car Care Bays as it is very much a problem solver getting rid of annoying scratches and swirls caused by keys and fingernails around door handles. Ultra-fine polishing agents smooth away imperfections and leave a high-gloss, reflective shine. Rrp is £3.99.
Lynx air fresheners give ’fresh car vibes’, backed by a strong brand name to give retailers confidence to stock them and consumers confidence to buy. Rrp is around £3.49.
Little Trees is the biggest-selling car air freshener in the UK. The new triple packs in the two most popular fragrances (New Car and Black Ice, rrp £3.99) give retailers the chance to put more money through their tills.
Simoniz Alloy Wheel Cleaner guarantees removal of brake dust and dirt. The company says it was developed in a lab but tested on the road to make sure that it works