Volume 8, Issue 5 - September/October 2006

Field of Vision
From the Editor

Safety Sells
by Charles Cumpston

In the world of auto shows in the United States, there is the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January, and then there is everything else. Most major metropolitan areas, however, have their own respectable such event. Where I live, there is the New York International Auto Show.

According to no less an authority than The New York Times, there were seven major trends at this yearís New York Auto Show.

1. No niche left unfilled.
2. Economy cars.
3. Crossover wagons.
4. All-wheel drive.
5. Safety sells.
6. Millionaires rule.
7. Alternative energy.

Most of these are self-explanatory and reflect what happened at the Detroit show as well as the other auto shows throughout the country. (Millionaires rule refers to the number of super-expensive cars in the show such as the $160,000 Bentley, the $330,000 Ferrari Superamerica and the $1.3 million Bugatti Veyron.)

The one that hit me between the eyes was number 5: Safety sells. 

The report of this trend talked about the growing inclusion of safety features in all cars and the successful marketing of safety features in up-scale vehicles.

In the auto glass replacement market, weíve talked a lot about how important the installation is because of the role the glass plays as a structural element. What we do not seem to have been able to do, on a widespread basis, is make the public aware of the safety factors involved when a windshield is replaced. 

Yes, there are individuals who have been able to successfully incorporate the question of safety into their business. We have highlighted them.

But it has been a complete dud getting the insurance companies to recognize the correlation between respectable businesses that take the time and effort to make responsible, safe replacements and a shop that does the job in the quickest, cheapest manner possible, without regard for the safety aspects of the job. Itís as if safety counts for nothing as soon as people have to pay for itóitís as if everyone is delivering the same quality product at the same price.

The phenomenon of low price/high quality doesnít happen in any other market segment. Why would anyone expect it to happen with auto glass replacement? A lot of the products consumers buy at discounters, even though they have the same label on them, are not the same quality product that a first-rate retail shop is selling.

An on-going refrain on the AGRR Magazine Message Forum is that people will not compromise their sense of integrity to do any work that is not responsible regardless of how the insurance companies continue to drop the price they will pay and cut into profits. This speaks well for the integrity of the majority of the people in our industry.

But if consumers are to continue to get good, safe auto glass installations, then at some point the insurance companies are going to have to realize they have to pay for them. Itís trite but itís true: You get what you pay for. And safety sells.

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