Volume 16, Issue 1 - January/February 2014

AGR Reports
breaking news


NATIONAL NEWS

Fuyao to Launch First U.S. Automotive Glass Manufacturing Facility

FUYAO GLASS INDUSTRY GROUP plans to purchase the former General Motors Assembly in Moraine, Ohio, to build its first North American automotive glass manufacturing facility.

The company will invest $200 million in the plant and plans to bring 800 jobs to the area over the next five years.

“I think this is a great opportunity for Fuyao to increase its presence in America,” says Jamie Browning, contributing editor for AGRRTM magazine. Browning spent a year with Fuyao in China as a senior technical advisor from 2011 to 2012.

“I was able to see firsthand their level of commitment to quality during my time with Fuyao in Beijing. This is a positive step for new jobs in America by Chinese companies,” he adds.

The company plans to begin glass manufacturing by the end of 2015. The project still needs to undergo the due diligence process on the building and gain approval of federal, state and local incentives.

Fuyao is the largest automotive glass supplier in China with 65 percent of the market and 18 percent of the global automotive glass market. The company currently has a presence in the U.S., Germany, Russia, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Brazil, and many other countries in the world.

Fuyao, headquartered in Fuzhou, China, employs more than 18,000 workers globally and plans to use its new Moraine facility to supply its growing U.S. customer base, including General Motors, Chrysler, Hyundai, Honda and Kia.

And globally, the company provides batch OEM supplies for Audi, Bentley, Volkswagen, GM, Ford, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, PSA, Volvo, Hyundai and Chrysler.

Officials from Fuyao North America declined to comment.

Glass Masters “Rebrands” as Auto Glass Now
Despite rumors and online conjecture that Safelite has acquired Glass Masters and Glass Emporium, Safelite’s public relations manager Melina Metzger says it is not true. “Safelite, nor our parent company Belron, owns or has a minority stake in Glass Emporium, Auto Glass Now, Glass Masters or any of their brand names/affiliates, etc,” Metzger says.

The 60 Glass Masters locations throughout the country have been “rebranded” under the Auto Glass Now moniker and remain “under the same ownership,” according to a manager at the company’s national call center who prefers not be indentified for fear of reprisal.

Auto Glass Now was a related company to Glass Masters, according to the company call center manager. She says the Glass Masters’ locations “adopted” the name of the existing company.

Efforts by AGRRTM magazine editors to dig into the company’s ownership led to a report that lists Gerald Alexander as the president of Auto Glass Now in 2011.

Calls to the company’s corporate headquarters in Oakland, Calif., for Glass Masters, which also did business as Glass Pro and Glass Emporium, were unsuccessful. Editors were referred to the national call center by the person answering the phone there.

Several Ford F-150 Owners Report Shattering Backlites to NHTSA
More than 20 F-150 Ford owners of the 2010 model year have complained to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that an alleged glitch in their rear defrosters has caused their backlites to shatter or spiderweb in cracks.

“On a 40-degree morning, I turned the rear defroster on to clear the windows and mirrors. as I was driving my son to daycare, I heard a large pop and then smelled burning rubber. I looked and saw the right rear glass shattered and it was shortened out by the heating element,” reported one owner to NHSTA on December 15, 2013.

Another owner who wrote to NHTSA on December 9, 2013, reported that “The truck was outside in 11-degrees. I started the vehicle and turned on the rear defrost. Within two to three minutes, the left panel (on the driver’s side) of the three-piece sliding rear window shattered while I was stopped at a traffic light.”

In another reported instance, the owner says the back light shattered near where his or her son was seated in the truck.

“The external temperature was -22 degrees and I had the rear window defroster and heating unit in the diver’s seat turned on. The front defroster was set to the highest temperature. While driving at 25 mph, my son and I noticed a burning smell. He was seated in a booster in the rear seat, passenger side. He advised me that he could hear something behind him making noise. I looked back and observed smoke coming from behind the rear passenger headrest where my son was seated. I looked forward to find a spot to pull over and then heard a loud bang. Looking back, I saw the rear window was shattered on the passenger side. It is a sliding rear window with three sections. Only the passenger section directly behind my son was shattered. The glass remained in place, but shattered. I quickly pulled over, shut off the truck and removed my son. From the outside, I can see the plastic lower corner melted where the passenger glass meets the center glass section. The rubber seal/moulding was smoking and had melted and dripped down the back of the truck cab between the cab and the truck bed/box. Inside there is a strong odor of burnt rubber or plastic,” the owner alleges.

Several of the owners involved in these alleged incidents reported the situations to dealers and Ford; however, no remedy or “fix” was offered, they told NHTSA.

“The dealer is telling me that the glass is not covered under the extended warranty,” writes one owner in a complaint.

Another owner writes, “The truck is still at the shop and they cannot identify the issue. I fear that if only the glass is replaced that this issue will reoccur.”

Several of the owners shared photos of their damaged rear backlites with NHTSA.

NHTSA does not have an open investigation of this reported issue and Ford officials had not responded to a request for comment.

Sponsorships and Contestant Registration Open for Auto Glass Week™
Auto Glass Week™ (AGW) 2014 will be held in Baltimore on October 7-9, 2014. All of the major automotive glass groups are coming together to bring you one momentous event at the Baltimore Convention Center and Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel.

The 2014 event will bring together the Auto Glass Safety Council, Independent Glass Association, National Glass Association, National Windshield Repair Association and AGRR™ magazine in one convenient location.

The AGW Exhibition/Extravaganza will once again be bustling with excitement with our full line-up of sponsors, as well as AGRR™ magazine’s Auto Glass Technician Olympics (AGTO) and Windshield Repair Olympics (WRO) in Honor of Walt Gorman.

Contestant registration includes admission to all seminars, workshops, social events, one ticket to the Gala Awards Reception and Ceremony, and access to the Exhibition/Extravaganza where the competitions will be held.

The annual event will bring together all aspects of the automotive glass industry. Tools, mouldings, adhesive systems, automotive glass and more will be on display, discussed in seminars and incorporated within demonstrations and the two high-energy competitions.

The competitions will be held October 7-9 as part of Auto Glass Week. Champions will be announced Thursday evening, October 9, at the Gala Awards Reception and Ceremony, which will be held from 5-7 p.m. at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel. The registration deadline for contestants is August 15, 2014. There is no on-site registration to compete.

In the AGTO, first place will receive $10,000, a gold medal and trophy, as well as bragging rights as the “World’s Best Auto Glass Technician.” Second will take home $1,000 and a silver medal and third will receive $500 and a bronze medal.

First-place winner for the WRO will receive the grand prize of $10,000, a gold medal and trophy, as well as bragging rights as the “World’s Best Windshield Repair Technician.” Second place will receive $1,000 as well as a silver medal and the third-place winner will get $500 and a bronze medal.

If you are interested in sponsoring and holding a booth space at the 2014 AGW, contact Holly Biller at 540/602-3251, or by email at hbiller@glass.com. For more information on how to register, compete, or become an AGW Sponsor, visit www.autoglassweek.com.

COMPANY NEWS

Safelite Group to Acquire Assets of Guardian Auto Glass
Safelite Group has acquired substantially all of the vehicle glass repair and replacement assets of Guardian Auto Glass LLC, a joint venture of Guardian Industries Corp. and LRST LLC.

Additionally, Safelite Group also acquired the vehicle glass insurance claims management assets of Guardian Glass Network, not including its RV glass claims management operations. The acquisition is part of an international deal of the Belron Group, which includes the purchase of the vehicle glass business of Guardian in Spain.

Guardian Auto Glass currently includes approximately 253 employees in 60 retail locations throughout the U.S. Guardian Auto Glass provides vehicle glass repair and replacement services in 12 states with a heavy emphasis in Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia and Florida. Guardian Auto Glass’ management team is assisting in the transition.

Guardian Glass Network operates its vehicle glass claims administration operation in Worthington, Ohio, and has 21 employees, 13 of whom will join Safelite Solutions. The remaining Guardian Glass Network employees will continue to operate the RV glass claims program.

“Safelite is committed to its retail auto glass and insurance claims businesses as demonstrated by its dynamic growth in recent years,” says Mike Morrison, president of Guardian Automotive. “Our people are joining another established brand with a history of growth and a long term focus on the retail automotive glass business.”

PRODUCT NEWS

Carlex Notifies Customers of Non-Safety Issue
Carlex has alerted its customers about a non-safety related quality issue on some Carlite DW001529 GTY/GBY product, which might show an increased rate of cracking during installation.

“The issue is limited to a small percentage of windshields produced by DOT 287 with date codes 2AB, 2AC and 3E,” explains Don Michelotti, Carlex executive vice president.

“These windshields can continue to be installed in the field as there is no safety issue with the product. Although the rate of cracking is very low, it exceeds Carlex’s internal quality standards.

Michelotti stresses that the affected product is safe to install, saying it “was validated with safety testing at the time of manufacture per industry standards and retested by Carlex to confirm that all products meet or exceed all FMVSS and ANSI safety requirements.”

Once a root-cause analysis has been completed and corrective action has been taken by the sub-supplier, Carlex will resume manufacturing.

 


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