Volume 34, Number 4, April 1999

 

USGAuto NEWS

Glass Manufacturers’ Move Toward Retail Pricing

A number of auto glass aftermarket manufacturers are in the process of releasing their own wholesale "pricing schedules" with prices that differ from the NAGS list prices. Since wholesale and retail prices have traditionally been based off of discounts off the NAGS pricing, some in the industry are wondering if such practices will begin with these new wholesale list prices.

Carlite has recently announced that its newly published manufacturers list prices will differ from the prices that NAGS has established for the same parts. "NAGS has published suggested list and retail prices that we are not in agreement with," said Bernie Wiedl of Carlite. "We are publishing list prices for our dealers like we always have–for glass and all other service parts for Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles. However, our prices will be inconsistent with those of NAGS for the first time. We will publish the prices that we believe are the right prices for our glass parts."

PPG Industries also announced that it would publish a pricing list that would differ from NAGS, however before the change would become effective the company quickly changed course. In a statement to USGlass magazine Gary Goudy, vice president automotive replacement glass said, "PPG has withdrawn the PPG automotive replacement glass price list dated April 5, 1999 effective today."

Joe Pender of Pilkington LOF says his company will use its own numbers for its truckload prices. "Pilkington LOF will hold its truckload prices firm and will not adjust them regardless of what NAGS does," he said. "However, we will use NAGS as the basis for most of our wholesale pricing. When I use the word ‘wholesale,’ I refer to sales to retail auto glass installers."

"We know our costs bests and are in the best position to know what our selling prices should be," Pender said. "We embrace NAGS when selling to the retail customer because he is comfortable using NAGS as a price list."

Guardian Industries has still not made a concrete decision on how it will handle its prices, according to the company.

For its part, NAGS does not see why manufacturers should not publish wholesale list prices. "There is no reason why manufacturers shouldn’t provide wholesale price lists for customers (assuming their licensing agreements allow for republication of copyrighted material)," said Catherine Howard of NAGS.

However, Howard does express concern about the possibility of these prices reaching into the retail portion of the auto glass industry. "Initial indications are that these various manufacturers’ price lists are intended to reach the manufacturers’ customers in the retail market," she said. "‘Cherry-picking’ has been raised as a concern by many trying to do business in this environment."

In the long run, the final judge of whether manufacturers’ price lists take hold will rest in the hands of insurance companies and retail customers. "In the majority of cases I think the insurance companies will continue to follow NAGS pricing," said Philip Webb of Pilkington LOF. Howard agrees saying, "It appears insurance companies will continue to use NAGS Benchmark Prices."

However, Wiedl thinks insurance companies could, and will, look at other options. "The insurance companies can establish the prices they pay by taking discounts off any set of list price they choose," he said. "There is nothing magical about the NAGS list prices."

While there may be no magic in the NAGS list, there is uniformity which gives it a tremendous advantage with the insurance companies, according to Bill Hardt of State Farm. "State Farm wants to work with national lists of parts and pricing," he said. "I am not interested in working with numerous price lists."

Hardt goes on to compliment NAGS for providing one set of prices in an era where pricing confusion abounds. "As far as I’m concerned NAGS is the only game in town," he said. "NAGS is doing its best to bring rationality, consistency and lack of confusion into the marketplace."

ABRA Auto Body & Glass Acquires Eight Stores in Memphis

ABRA Auto Body & Glass LLC of Minneapolis, has acquired seven franchise collision repair facilities and one auto glass replacement and repair facility in the Memphis, TN, area. The franchise owners, Mike Ormiston, John Christiansen and John Welch, have sold their eight locations to the company and will be retained in managerial positions with the national collision repair organization. ". . . joining ABRA as a corporate store will only strengthen our presence and profitability by investing capital for improvements and expansion," Welch said. ABRA operates 64 collision repair facilities in 12 states.

The company has also acquired East Marietta Paint & Body in Marietta, GA. This newest acquisition becomes the fourth ABRA facility in Georgia. East Marietta Paint & Body recently expanded its facility, including an addition of 4,000-square-feet to the body shop and additional parking space.

Aegis Announces Expansion and Name Change

AEGIS Windshield Repair of Madison, WI, has expanded and changed its name. The newly named AEGIS Tools International now offers a range of automotive glass replacement and repair tools, as well as a new line of hand tools. According to the company, the expansion is a result of AEGIS’ international contract, selling throughout North America, Europe, Asia, South America and Africa. The new line of tools allows the company to become a source to the automotive industry, as well as the autoglass industry. New glass products include glass handlers, cut-out tools with specialized blades, electric and battery-operated glass removal knives, magnetic pick-up tools and battery-operated caulking guns for high viscosity urethane.

Apogee Enterprises Inc. Sells Midas Franchises

Minneapolis-based Apogee Enterprises Inc. has sold all eight of its Midas Muffler franchises. According to the company, the franchises were previously included as part of its auto glass business segment. The company began acquiring Midas Muffler franchises in 1981 as part of a strategy to help some of its Harmon AutoGlass retail businesses gain entry into certain geographic markets.

USAA Casualty Insurance Sued

A suit filed March 12 in Seattle, claims USAA Casualty Insurance Company (USAA) directs auto repair shops to use imitation parts in repairs while withholding this information from its policy holders. Another claim is that the company also committed breach of contract and violation of good faith and fair dealing by forcing repair facilities to use imitation parts without disclosing that estimates were based on use of the cheaper imitation parts. The plaintiff’s attorney, Steve Berman says what USAA is doing is against Washington’s Consumer Protection Act. "We trust our insurance companies to provide safe repairs and return our cars to pre-crash value, but USAA is misleading its policy holders and threatening their safety," said Berman.

Second Coach Glass Warehouse to Open

Coach Glass of Eugene, OR, opened its second warehouse in Jacksonville, FL. The addition will increase the company’s inventory of over 20,000 RV and bus windshields, according to Todd Lowary, sales and service manager.

"We’re in Jacksonville largely due to customer request. Being there gives us faster service to our growing East coast market by cutting our shipping time in half," said Lowary.


USG

Copyright 1999 Key Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.