The unnamed victim suffered a serious wound to the stomach after being shot three times in the shooting at the Express Hot Hand Car Wash on Bolton Road, Ashton.
Police, who were called to the scene shortly before 5.20pm on Monday evening, say witnesses describe seeing a man wearing a balaclava get out of a white car and fire several shots towards the car wash.
The car was then driven off. A short time later officers were told that a man had attended hospital for treatment to injuries to his abdomen.
Part of Bolton Road was shut as a search was launched for the assailant.
Police are expected to reveal further details later on Tuesday connecting the Ashton attack with incidents in Salford in recent weeks including one in the early hours of Monday morning when a grenade was thrown at a house on Salford’s Duchy estate and exploded harmlessly.
An unnamed resident on Thompson Street, which backs onto the car wash, said: “I was cooking tea when I heard five or six bangs but I thought they were fireworks. The first I knew of anything serious was at about 5.10pm when police shut off the road. It’s quite a shock.”
Det Insp Matthew Moore said: “This incident has only just occurred so the full circumstances of what happened or why remain unclear.
“We know shots were fired at a car wash and a man has attended hospital with serious injuries.
“Such indiscriminate use of a firearm could have resulted in multiple deaths and I want to reassure local residents a full and thorough investigation is already under way.
“If anyone witnessed what happened or has information about those responsible or the motive behind the attack I would urge them to call us immediately.”
Det Insp Moore added: “I would also appeal to anyone who has seen the car since this incident to get in touch.
“All information will be treated in strict confidence.”
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101, or Crimestoppers, anonymously.
Calls should be made to 0800 555111.
A further police statement is expected this afternoon.