Volume 14, Issue 3 - May/June 2012

AGR Reports
breaking news

Utah Law Reduces Frequency
of Required State Safety Inspections

The governor of Utah recently signed a bill into law that will greatly reduce the frequency of the state's required vehicle safety inspections. H.B. 298 was signed into law on March 23 by Gov. Gary Herbert.

While the state’s law previously required vehicles that are eight years or older to be inspected annually, the approved amendment changes the law to require annual inspections only for vehicles ten years or older. The law is expected to affect the number of auto glass repairs and replacements done in the state.

Additionally, for vehicles that are less than ten years old on January 1 of each year, the vehicles now will be required to undergo inspections only in their fourth and eighth years. Previously, Utah law required that vehicles less than eight years old undergo inspections in odd-numbered years for vehicles with an odd-numbered model year, and in even-numbered years for vehicles with an even-number model year.

Under the new law, a 10-year-old vehicle in Utah will only be required to undergo two inspections in its first ten years, whereas previously vehicles would have been required to undergo two inspections in their first eight years, and then annually after that.

The bill was introduced to the state's house in February by Rep. John Dougall. The portion of the bill that changes the required frequency of state inspections takes effect on January 1, 2013.

Utah vehicle safety inspections include an inspection of the vehicle's windshield, sidelites and backlites, according to information from the state.

Mygrant Glass Testing RFID for Glass Deliveries
Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology is being tested at auto glass wholesaler Mygrant Glass. The company is currently using the scanning technology to track glass from creation to installation.

“Every piece of inventory has an RFID tag on it,” says Daniel Parkinson, IT director for Mygrant Glass. “As it leaves the building the glass gets scanned. Then as it gets delivered it gets scanned and updates an iPad that confirms that it was delivered to a certain customer at a certain time.”

The technology allows Mygrant to track the glass and saves money and time for the company. Mygrant would be able to scan glass and see when it was purchased, how much the customer paid for it and when it was delivered.

“If we have problems with the glass we can determine where it came from. If a customer returns it later [the RFID] can tell us how much they paid for it and when,” says Parkinson. “It also cuts down on huge paper costs and time handling the paper, storage and retrieval.”

The program testing was expected to conclude in mid-April at press time and Mygrant officials expect to roll out the technology regionally with plans to have the technology nationwide by the end of 2012.

Safelite Suspends Expansion Plans in Arizona
Safelite has suspended plans to expand its Chandler, Ariz., call center facility. Company officials attribute the decision to suspend the plans to a “proposed amendment to an Arizona bill” (see related story on page 16).

“Safelite Solutions’ expansion in Chandler remains on hold because of the unfriendly business climate we find ourselves in,” says Brian O’Mara, vice president of national contact center operations for Safelite. “We are still taking a ‘wait and see’ approach, but the expansion will eventually have to be made somewhere. We would like it to be in Arizona, but unfortunately, that cannot happen if we are going to be forced to refer claims to F-rated shops.”

The amendment to the Arizona bill, S.B. 1331, states that if the insured “does not prefer a specific provider, the third-party administrator shall provide the insured with the names of three randomly selected providers on the provider list on a rotating basis with no preference given to any provider. The third-party administrator is required to offer all providers on the list before any provider may be offered again.”

The expansion was expected to create 300 new jobs immediately at the Chandler call center. The facility originally opened in June of 2010, and, according to the company, initially employed around 195. Safelite officials had projected at that time that eventually the facility would grow to around 1,000 employees.

“It’s bad for policyholders—plain and simple. There are 49 other states plus [Washington,] D.C., where operations could be shifted, if this bill passes,” says O’Mara. “Our doors remain open to all policymakers to come see our facility and learn more about how we do business and how this bill would hurt Arizona consumers. We look forward to moving past this and developing a good working relationship with our legislators, our affiliate glass shops and all others that are interested in a fair and open market in the auto glass industry.”

In response to Safelite’s news, Kerry Soat, CEO of Fas-Break Inc., in Chandler, Ariz., says, “If the Arizona bill were to pass, Safelite could still handle claims for insurance companies. [The company] could still use [its] 800 numbers. [It] could still process the calls and could still do what third-party administrators do. So threatening to close the Arizona call center or even give the impression their business would close in Arizona merely shows how much [the company] want[s] to keep the ‘status quo’ in Arizona. What’s wrong with good service, good products and good installations as a way to compete in Arizona?”

Trosifol Expands Production in Germany

PVB film manufacturer Trosifol is planning to increase production capacity at its Troisdorf, Germany, facility. The company is planning to add an additional production line to answer the rising need for PVB film for laminated safety glass in the automotive industry. The total investment for the new line will be close to $26 million (EUR 20 million) and the line is expected to be up and running by the end of 2013.

“The new production line in Troisdorf will be specifically geared to the automotive industry’s stringent quality requirements,” says Ralf Eschrich, who heads the Trosifol division at Kuraray Europe GmbH. “At the same time, we will be stepping up the number of staff working in research and development and technical service. The aim is to raise our presence in this key growth market and position ourselves as a strong and competent partner for customers in the automotive industry.”

Webasto Recall Continues as Dealers File Paperwork Regarding Affected Vehicles
A number of dealers have been affected by a recent Webasto Product North America Inc. recall. Dealers who installed the sunroofs have submitted documents to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regarding the number of vehicles each has worked on that are affected by the recall.

According to initial reports by the NHTSA, the recall could have affected 292,867 sunroofs sold as aftermarket equipment for a variety of passenger vehicles, citing a possible adhesive bonding issue between the glass and metal frame. The impacted sunroofs include certain Hollandia 700 and 600 Series and the Hollandia TVS 900 series.

Some of the affected aftermarket sunroofs were installed on new motor vehicles prior to delivery to the first owner by the installer, and just this month, nine dealers have reported the total number of vehicles affected at their companies. Among these dealers, 7,872 vehicles were reported as potentially affected. Each dealer was required to send the NHTSA a detailed list of the vehicles, including the make, model, model year and approximate number of units installed by each dealer, according to information from NHTSA.

According to information from Webasto, the adhesive bond between the glass and the metal frame “can debond, increasing the risk that the sunroof glass would separate from the vehicle.” Likewise, company officials say that this can occur gradually and that metal corrosion may appear around the sunroof frame, along with wind noise, vibration, visual bond separation and/or water leakage.

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