Volume 8, Issue 6 - November/December 2006

AGRReports

COMPANIES

Glass Prices Go Up
Both Pilkington and PPG upped the price of their auto glass 3.5 percent recently.

PPG set off the latest increase with a letter from Lisa M. Detwiler, director business development, on September 20.

“Escalating costs continue to burden the auto glass industry. While PPG Auto Glass remains committed to reducing our operating costs where possible, we are unable to absorb the cost increases from our suppliers without an increase in our own price. Therefore, effective October 9, 2006 PPG Auto Glass will implement a 3.5 percent price increase across all glass units,” the letter read.

Pilkington followed with a letter a day later, putting the higher price into effect on October 9 as well.

In his letter to wholesale customers, William A. George, director-marketing for Columbus, Ohio-based Pilkington, pointed out that the cost drivers for the industry, which includes raw materials, energy, transportation, health care and overall labor costs, continue to encumber the market. “These energy and other costs are impacting our entire industry,” the letter stated. 

“As Pilkington continually endeavors to improve our product and services while remaining competitive and affordable, we are no longer able to fully absorb these increasing costs and must seek to recover some part. As a result, Pilkington will initiate a general price increase of 3.5 percent on all automotive glass parts, to be effective October 9th, 2006.” 

As a footnote, he added, “We hope the basis of these additional costs, which are affecting consumers and us in North America, will abate as soon as possible.”

Diamond Acquires Denver Company 
Diamond Glass Companies, Kingston, Pa., has acquired Prestige Auto Glass Inc. of Northglenn, Colo., a four-year-old provider of auto and window replacement glass services throughout the greater Denver area.

“The similar values of both companies helped to promote the acquisition. Prestige is an important piece to Diamond’s growth and provides us with experience and expertise in an attractive Denver market,” stated Doug Boyle, Diamond Glass CEO.

Bert Hibl, president of Prestige Auto Glass, added, “The Prestige board felt that to continue to grow the company, we needed to be a part of something greater.”

Prestige was the second acquisition for Diamond Glass in its second quarter (with Agents Auto Glass in Stoughton, Mass.) and becomes the fourth brand under the newly-named Diamond Glass Companies (with Triumph Auto Glass and Settles Glass Co.).
 
The company also has introduced a new Instant Quote feature to its Web site. The interactive quoting system is designed to allow consumers and AGRR specialists to get real time instant quotes immediately online. Its capabilities will also enable consumers or insurance agents to “quote and schedule” auto glass replacement services faster, and more efficiently, than ever before, according to CEO Boyle. 

Equalizer Plans New Facility
Equalizer Industries, Round Rock, Texas, has acquired 17 acres in Leander, Texas, a suburb of Austin. It plans to break ground on the first phase of its new headquarters and product distribution center there in November of this year.

The new facility is expected to feature a new product research department, streamlined production processes and the newest in packaging and shipping technology. 

“The auto glass industry has been good to us,” said Ray Asbery, president of Equalizer. “And because of dramatically increased popularity of Equalizer products over the past few years, we realized the need to considerably expand our operation. We are always striving to improve the Equalizer customer experience and will continue to make it an enjoyable one.”

TeleGlass Unveils Web Site
TeleGlass National has a new Web site, www.teleglass.com, which features information about its service offerings and a collection of resources and industry news. 

“This site redesign is the first in a series of exciting changes at TeleGlass planned for the next few months. The new site better represents the capabilities that set TeleGlass apart from other administrators. Both in terms of content and imagery, it reflects the company that TeleGlass has grown to be, and the direction we will be moving in the years to come,” said marketing manager Ari Parnes.

The company provides glass claims services for insurance companies.

VEHICLES

Toyota Recalls Vehicles in China
Toyota Motor Corp. has recalled 20,069 Crown sedans made in China because of defective rubber strips that seal the windshields, according to the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of China.

Tianjin FAW Toyota Motor Co., a joint venture between Toyota and China’s FAW Group, made the recall because the rubber strip may fall off when the car is traveling at high speeds due to weak adhesion. The venture hadn’t received any reports about accidents or injuries related to the problem, it said.

AGRSS

Glass America Makes AGRSS Donation
Chicago-based Glass America has made a donation to the Automotive Glass Replacement Safety Standards (AGRSS) Council, the first generous donation of the Council’s new fundraising campaign which will support a variety of AGRSS-oriented educational opportunities, including its new consumer awareness program. 

The mission of AGRSS is to advance safe auto glass replacements by developing and maintaining standards for the replacement of auto glass, educating and accrediting the industry, and promoting awareness of the AGRSS Standard to the insurance industry and driving public at large. Glass America is committed to supporting the standards and objectives that the AGRSS Council has put forth through both financial and instructional support and has a company representative on the AGRSS Standards Committee.

“Not only does Glass America support the goals of AGRSS, but I myself, can give a whole hearted endorsement of AGRSS. It’s critical to ensure safe auto glass installations,” said David Rohlfing, president of Glass America. “We look forward to a time when AGRSS is fully embraced across the AGR industry, the insurance industry, and all customer segments. We need to raise the standards of our business to increase the safety of the driving public. I trust, and hope, that other companies will follow suit in supporting these efforts.”

“Glass America’s generous contribution to our campaign sends a positive message to the entire AGR industry,” commented Rick Church, AGRSS secretariat. “Glass America is one of the largest automotive glass installation companies in our field and its continued support for our cause gives us greater influence toward the ultimate goal of improving the safety of every driver on the road.”

Glass America’s Web site (www.glassusa.com) features video clips of proper and improper windshield installations, along with information on original equipment glass, and a brochure about safe windshield installations. These features are part of Glass America’s continued support to both vehicle owners and the insurance industry, in efforts to create an awareness and understanding of safe industry standards.

TECHNICIANS

Average AGRR Tech Salary Increases
According to U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics figures, the average auto glass repair and replacement technician earned $30,510 last year, up 2.1 percent from the previous year.

The government collects the information from employers and makes it available for comparative purposes.

The latest figures available, the May 2005 National, State, and Metropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, show that the median annual salary for auto glass techs is $29,500 or $14.18 per hour.

Among the state’s ranking highest in salaries for this employment category are Minnesota, Vermont, Michigan and Washington.

AGRR
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