In My Opinion
by Richard Campfield
WE ALL GET THAT PHONE CALL every day from
the consumers saying, “I need a new windshield.” My reply to them is,
“What kind of windshield would you like?” and the call goes silent.
I have a son who has been blind since the age of six from retinoblastoma.
He is now 24 and on his own. The word “blind” for me is a painful word,
but I could not think of any better word to describe the way consumers,
and we in the automotive glass business, have to buy windshields.
Consumer Reports is one non-profit that consumers can turn to
get non-biased feedback on products so they do not have to buy blind such
items as cars, tires, smartphones, vacuum cleaners, ovens, TVs and computers.
The Internet now has feedback and ratings on just about everything these
days, except for windshields. Most people spend more time looking at their
windshield every day than they do looking at their spouse and kids. You
would think there would be more information out there on such an important
I have personally been involved in fracture testing windshield brands
in a lab and in surveys. No two windshields had identical scores. There
are differences. Many repairers and installers know this from experience,
not from readily available information on the brands. An Ultra Bond customer
of mine that performs repairs and replacements was approached by a windshield
manufacturer sales representative. My customer told that sales rep he
would never put that brand of windshield in his customer’s car. The sales
representative’s reply to him was that it was smart business to install
this brand because it was cheap to buy and he would get more business
because he would replace it more often. That sales rep definitely knows
Have you ever seen a TV commercial by a windshield manufacturer touting
why their windshield is better than the others? I have not. What do you
think would be the most important feature to the consumer?
Example: Now if a Harford insured consumer needs a new windshield which
windshield will the glass shop install when the company will be paid the
same price no matter which windshield he installs? The $45.17 or the $118.60?
Do you think the shop is going to mention anything about quality, brand
or features if the shop is the one that is going to have to pay for it?
If the consumer has a green band, the shops pays for it. If the consumer
wants a Carlite windshield, the shop pays for it. Since the alleged insurer
indemnification payment for like kind and quality is the same price no
matter what windshield is installed, the windshield manufacturers need
to advertise to the consumer market.
Windshield manufacturers should market to the consumer, unless of course,
you are all the same which is exactly what consumers think. Because windshield
manufacturers have never marketed to the consumer, the consumer thinks
a windshield is a windshield and only cares about price which creates
a cash market.
The glass shops not only have to contend with the insurance companies
steering and not paying to indemnify the consumer’s loss, but they also
deal with a cash market driven by nothing but price. We cannot sell the
safety aspects and benefits of your windshield in a 60 second phone call.
I think windshield manufacturers had better start marketing their differences
to consumers before someone else does it for them.
Richard Campfield is the founder and president of Ultra Bond Inc.
in Grand Junction, Colo.
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