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March/April  2004

AGRReports
  breaking news

LEGAL

Upon Fuyao Glass’s appeal to the U.S. Court of International Trade in New York, the court has ruled that the Department of Commerce (DOC) should withdraw its dumping charges against Fuyao. The company is appealing based on its float glass calculation data.

“We believe the truth is on our side, so we spent a lot of time and money to prove it,’’ said Cao Dewang, president of Fuyao. The DOC had not made a decision, however, at press time. 

Officials from Greenville Glass, an American subsidiary of Fuyao, said they expect the final decision by the DOC to be several months away.

“It must be noted that the dumping case is still in the appeal process and that no final determinations have been made by the Department of Commerce,” said Bruce Prescher, vice president of sales. “We should have a better understanding of the appeal in about half a year to nine months.”

He added, “In the meantime, it is business as usual for Greenville Glass. We are still under dumping penalties and we are still in the appeal process. Hopefully soon we will reach a positive conclusion to this long and arduous lawsuit."

AGRSS Begins Education for Insurance Industry

The Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standards (AGRSS) Council began a series of individual meetings with key members of the insurance industry the week of January 11. The meetings are designed to help educate insurers about the AGRSS Standard and the benefits to consumers of using AGRSS-registered companies for auto glass replacement work. 

Members of the insurance subcommittee of the AGRSS marketing committee will meet representatives from three insurance companies—State Farm, Allstate and American Family Insurance—to explain the AGRSS Standard and AGRSS registration process.

“We hope that all insurance companies will begin to encourage compliance with the AGRSS standard and to promote the benefits of using AGRSS-registered companies to do such work,” said insurance subcommittee chair Steve Pierick of Binswanger Glass. “It is important that insurance companies understand the safety implications of the AGRSS Standard.”

Pierick says additional meetings are in the works with a number of top insurers and that direct mail efforts are planned for all insurance companies involved in claims. 

“Our goal is to make sure everyone knows how important AGRSS registration is,” he said.

“Both reputable insurance and auto glass companies have a keen interest in vehicle safety,” said Cindy Minon-Ketcherside of JC’s Glass in Phoenix, Ariz. Minon-Ketcherside chairs the AGRSS Council. “Both of our industries are, in many ways, in the safety business. We need to make sure that customers are choosing companies that know about the AGRSS standard and comply with it.”

AGRSS Council Decides Not to Take on Repair

The Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standards Council (AGRSS) has decided not to pursue development of an ANSI standard for auto glass repairs, an idea that was suggested by council participant and Independent Glass Association (IGA) chief executive officer Tim Smale at the council’s September 9 meeting in Scottsdale, Ariz. (see page 50 for related story).

The decision was made mostly due to the costliness and time involved in developing an ANSI standard, according to AGRSS chairperson Cindy Minon-Ketcherside, also the president of JC’s Glass in Phoenix.

“The main thing that we had to look at is there’s a lot of cost involved in getting a standard in place, so the reason we chose not to do it is cost,” Minon-Ketcherside said. 

The suggestion followed several months of debate between the IGA and the National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA) concerning the safety of windshield repair after the IGA released a study conducted by St. Louis-based Solutia Inc. claiming that moisture striking the PVB in a windshield can make it unsafe and therefore can make windshield repair of these breaks unsafe. 

However, the IGA later announced at an NWRA board meeting and in several articles that the study was meant to focus on the PVB issue, not windshield repair.


MEDIA

NAGC Update ChangesName to Salient
The Waverly, Minn.-based NAGC Update, published by Sally Custer, has changed its name to the Salient. 
According to Custer, “NAGC,” the company’s acronym for National Automotive Glass Consultants, has been repeatedly confused with NAGS (National Auto Glass Specifications International). 

“During the past several years glass shop owners have been disgruntled with the price changes NAGS has made,” Custer said. “Often individuals check out articles I have posted on my website and assume I am with NAGS. Hopefully, by changing our publication name from NAGC Update to the Salient I will dispel those inaccurate perceptions.”

Auto Glass Company Markets on the Web

89 Glass.com, an auto glass company based in Walla Walla, Wash., has been recruiting customers via e-mail. The e-mail’s subject says, “Get Your Windshield Replaced! Save $100 On-Line.” Once opened, the e-mail offers a website the viewer can click on and then input his zipcode and vehicle information to receive a quote on a windshield replacement. If he chooses to do so, the operator can then schedule the job from his own computer.

The website owner is listed as Rob Schmidt of RBS Inc. in Walla Walla. However, Schmidt did not respond after several repeated attempts to reach him via both phone and e-mail.

COMPANIES

Klein-Dickert Reorganizes
Madison, Wis.-based Klein-Dickert Co. Inc. says it is realigning its Madison and Milwaukee units, according to an article in the Capital Times. 

Effective January 1, the company absorbed the auto glass division of Klein-Dickert Milwaukee Inc., while the glass and glazing division of Klein-Dickert Co. became part of Klein-Dickert Milwaukee, according to the article. Employees are remaining in their current locations. As a result of the changes, the Madison location is handling the company’s auto glass and paint jobs, while the Milwaukee facility is placing its focus on commercial and residential glass work in an effort to increase efficiency.

ACQUISITIONS

Boyd Group Purchases Gerber Glass
The Winnipeg, Manitoba-based Boyd Group has announced that it has finalized the purchase of all of the shares of Gerber Glass, which is based in the Chicago area. Boyd expects the acquisition to contribute $70 million to its annual revenue in 2004, increasing Boyd Group’s overall annualized sales to approximately $200 million. 

“This business combination provides Boyd Group with a significant base of business and a proven management team that will play a meaningful role in our continued U.S. expansion,” said Terry Smith, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Boyd Group. “Gerber is an ideal fit for us. [It is] a professionally managed, growth-oriented company that has established a leadership position in [its] market that is characterized by mutually rewarding partnerships with the insurance community.” 

Eddie Cheskis, chief executive officer for Gerber, was also pleased with the acquisition.

“This is an exciting time for Gerber. We have the infrastructure in place that provides us with a tremendous opportunity to continue to grow our business in the Chicago area and we welcome the opportunity to partner with Boyd Group to extend our delivery of industry leading results to new markets,” Cheskis said. 

Glass Doctor Holds Annual Meeting
The Waco, Texas-based Glass Doctor held its franchisee meeting in November in Chicago—its first since the acquisition of Harmon AutoGlass in Minneapolis was finalized. In attendance were president Robert Tunmire, Dina Dwyer-Owens, chief executive officer of the Dwyer Group, which owns Glass Doctor, and Loren J. Schlachet, principal for the Riverside Co. The meeting kicked off on Sunday, November 9, with a reception, followed by 2 ˝ days of meetings and trade exhibits.

With more than 140 in attendance, 95 of whom were franchisees, Dwyer-Owens explained why the recent Harmon AutoGlass purchase was a wise one for the company.

“We take business owners where they can’t take themselves,” she said. She went on to explain that Harmon is a good fit with the Glass Doctor because of its customers, values, people, quality and service, along with its “entrepreneurial glass culture.”

Harmon’s former vice president of operations, Nick Greville, will serve as the new chief operating officer for Glass Doctor. 

“It’s a great opportunity to stay involved,” Greville told AGRR. “There will be new, exciting ways for the auto glass industry to encourage franchise buying, ongoing business/enterprises.”

Greville said his challenge over the next six months will be focused on the employees. He’ll be teaching necessary business practices to all employees and to work with local and national account services to achieve a better level of service. 

 

AGRR

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