ATTENTION: The glassBYTEs.com forum is being retooled and will return with a new look and functionality that will hopefully help our readers even more. Watch for an announcement when it will be ready, it will be a few months.
You can still stay up on daily news and comment on stories by signing up for the glassBYTEs daily e-newsletter at glass.com/subcenter. There is no charge. Hope to see you there!
The AGRR industry sees too many changes recently. PGW is sold to LKQ then Vitro. St Gobain is extending in auto glass fitting business with the acquisition of France Pare-Brise in Europe. Do you think it will happen soon in the states, maybe Pilkington?
What I am trying to say is that St.Gobain is strengthening its' fitting business in Europe. Of course, AGC acquired Nordglass for a while. NSG, Pilkington's parent company, as you mentioned, has a big share in US after-market. It seems that big auto glass makers are moving into downstream.
Apparently, US auto glass fitting business is quite different from Europe.
There are many independent auto glass fitting shops in the states, although Safelite or Belron has a dominate position in the market. As far as I know, the enormous small business can hold almost a half of the AGRR market.
But when it comes to Europe, the situation is kind different and of course it also varies within Europe countries. Taking UK and German as the example, UK is dominated by national auto installers like Autoglass(Belron's another brand) and German market is mainly served by automobile dealer shops.
But in general, EU market is more concreted and US is a little fragmented. The glass manufacturers are struggling to get more share in EU by entering in fitting business, like Saint Gobain and AGC's example.
Considering recent changes in EU market, I mean it may happen in the states too someday. So how do you feel about this
The way I see it trending is that manufacturers are getting OUT of installing, or in the case of Safelite, an installation company got out of manufacturing. Guardian made windshields and had retail shops. They abandoned both.
As windshields take on more enhancements and complexities, going forward it would seem that it will become more and more difficult for a manufacturer who does not make a part OE to tool up on a part just for the aftermarket. That is why Safelite is smart for throwing in the towel on fabrication.
You all are missing the point. The industry will be unrecognizable in 15 years.
1) ADAS and calibration issues.
If you have to use dealer glass to avoid being sued in case of accident; if you have to send it to a dealer to re-calibrate they will insist it be dealer glass; if a customer has to go to dealer to re-calibrate they will just go there in the first instance next time; OR you pay $10k for the Pilkington machine and give one to each tech and hope they calibrate properly on the road and don't damage the machine??
If a car is in an accident, don't you think the lawyers are going to sue anyone that claimed to adjust the ADAS system?
2) self driving cars, LIFT fleets, etc.
At some point cars will be called out of a fleet as needed for rides (self driving taxis) which will be run by large fleets or even auto manufacturers. They will return to their own shop for all maintenance including glass work.
Both of these changes mean if you are an independent you will be a subcontractor to a fleet or dealer, or you will be doing the remaining old school cars that are still on the road.
Or you take on the ADAS risk and have to educate your customers that you can do it just as well as the dealership.
If dealers and lift fleets are doing the work in shop, why do they need us independent shops? All they need are the techs as employees or subcontractors.
thoughts? The way of the future is not good for an independent shop.