Volume 15, Issue 3 - May/June 2013

AGR Reports
breaking news

Size Does Matter: Company Owners
Respond to Safelite’s Marketing Campaign

Safelite AutoGlass recently launched a new TV advertising and radio campaign focused on what the company is calling “The Safelite Advantage” and AGRR company owners are very colorful in their response.

In the new commercial, available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=pZmDeO-OQMY, one of its technicians points out that the company's large network allows its technicians to go to a customer just about anywhere.

“You think all auto glass companies can be there right wherever you need them? No. But Safelite can,” says Julian Hankins, a technician from Charlotte, N.C., in the commercial.

He continues, “Whenever auto glass damage happens, it makes a difference who you choose. Only America’s largest gives you the reliability of Safelite Advantage with over 5,000 mobile glass shops in all 50 states so we're always nearby … and our national guarantee covers you at home and on the road.”

The new TV ads can be seen on national cable stations such as TBS, TNT, Fox News and CNN.

Auto glass company owners responded to Safelite’s latest campaign with skepticism.

“It is funny how they trash independent glass shops as being incompetent and guilty of doing unsafe and unprofessional work and then brag about their service anywhere and everywhere when they depend on these same shops to give the consumer the service that they brag about giving,” says Earl Pitman Jr., president of Dothan Glass Co. in Dothan, Ala.

Mike Mead, of an auto glass company based in Dunkirk, N.Y., adds, “Sure come and do any windshield in the dead of winter during a snow storm that is a great idea, breaking plastic clips, moldings, and exposing the interior of the car to the elements, and take the chance of primer and urethane failure.”

Legal News
New Jersey Judge Approves Six- State Class Action
A judge in a New Jersey District Court has given the go ahead for a six-state class action lawsuit against Volvo. The suit centers around Volvo’s sunroof on several models, which plaintiffs allege harbor a defect, allowing water to flood the vehicles. The judge also denied Volvo’s motion for summary judgment.

The six states Judge Dennis Cavanaugh granted as subclasses for class action are Massachusetts, Florida, Hawaii, New Jersey, California and Maryland.

The plaintiffs contend the “defect” sunroofs are on Volvo’s S40, S60, S80, V50 (model years 2004 to present), XC90 (model years 2003 to present) and V50 (model years 2005 to present).

“Plaintiffs allege that the sunroof drainage systems in these vehicles harbored a defect which allows water to become entrapped within the passenger compartment floorplans, causing damage to the vehicles, including interior components, carpets and safety-related electrical sensors and wiring,” according to the court documents.

“Plaintiffs further allege that Volvo had longstanding knowledge of a material design defect, based on plaintiffs’ assertion that numerous consumer complaints existed as well as internal Volvo communications and Technical Service Bulletins issued by Volvo in an unsuccessful attempt to address the problem,” the document continues.

Plaintiffs listed in the lawsuit represent each of the states in which the judge granted approval for class action.

In his opinion, Judge Cavanaugh writes, “In finding that certification of plaintiffs’ proposed statewide classes is warranted, the court finds that triable issues of fact exist. These issues include whether the design of the sunroof drainage systems were defectively designed, whether the defendants knew of the defect but failed to disclose it to the class and whether the maintenance instructions were inadequate and/or uniformly deficient. These issues are more than sufficient to warrant denial of defendants' individual motion for summary judgment.”

The suit was filed in 2010 in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey by Joanne Neale of Needham, Mass., and seven other owners.

Event News
Preparations Underway for Auto Glass Week™

This year’s Auto Glass Week™ will feature special appearances by World Trade Center Survivor Chief Richard Picciotto and famed NASCAR driver Greg Biffle. The event will be held September 18-20 at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Fla. In addition to the Auto Glass Technician and Repair Competitions, Auto Glass Week™ will also feature a plethora of educational sessions and an exhibit hall featuring top suppliers.

Chief Picciotto, the highest ranking firefighter to survive the World Trade Center collapse, is slated to give the keynote address Thursday, September 19. He is expected to speak about his harrowing experience 9/11 and what it takes to survive.

Picciotto was an FDNY Battalion Commander in Manhattan on September 11, 2001. Following the terrorist attack, he rushed into the World Trade Center to soon find himself trapped in the smoldering rubble of the North Tower after its collapse. Buried for more than four hours, Picciotto was one of the few to survive in the tower that fateful day.

In another special appearance at this year’s event, Biffle, driver of the #16 3M Ford Fusion, will meet attendees and sign autographs on Wednesday, September 18. Biffle is best known as the winningest driver of the 2005 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. His appearance is sponsored by 3M.

Platinum Sponsors Named
Two key competitions will again take the limelight during Auto Glass Week™, the Auto Glass Technician Competition and Windshield Repair Competition in honor of Walt Gorman. Key sponsors for the competitions are NordGlass and GlasWeld, respectively.

The auto glass technician competition provides the opportunity for technicians from around the world to compete to replace a damaged windshield. Industry veterans judge the competitors' replacements as well as their procedures, safety, cleanliness and customer interaction.

Platinum sponsor NordGlass was founded in 1991. It has two plants in Poland. Construction on its production factory in Koszalin began in 1996 and finished in 2000. The other plant, located in Slupsk, was constructed in 2006.

The company produces glass for more than 1,200 of the most popular types of vehicles in Europe.

Steve Skorupa, NordGlass’ director of sales and distribution, USA, believes Auto Glass Week™ is important because it is "a great venue for new and current suppliers to show off new products and services. Auto Glass Week™ brings the industry together, allowing for networking, relationship building and the introduction of new suppliers and products.

Meanwhile, the Windshield Repair Olympics is an opportunity for technicians from around the world to compete to repair a chip in a vehicle's windshield. Industry veterans judge the competitors' repairs as well as their procedures, safety, cleanliness and customer interaction.

“There are many competitors out there all wanting to demonstrate their skills and win the first prize as world champion,” says Dennis Garbutt, general manager of GlasWeld, platinum sponsor of the Windshield Repair Olympics in honor of Walt Gorman.
For more than 30 years, Bend, Ore.-based GlasWeld has been a leader in providing glass repair solutions for both the flat glass and automotive industry.

Garbutt says his company chose to sponsor Auto Glass Week™ because it is “the premier meeting place for our industry and attended by those members who share our belief in uncompromising quality both in products and customer service.”

Industry icon Walt Gorman was the owner of A-1 Windshield Doctor in Seekonk, Mass., and an AGRR™ columnist. He shared nearly 20 years of his life with the auto glass repair industry until his death in 2006. The Windshield Repair Olympics are in his honor.

Register Now for Auto Glass Week™
The deadline for deep registration discounts is open until July 8; however, slots for competitions are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The champions for the events will be crowned at the Gala Awards Reception and Ceremony on September 20.
To register or learn more, visit www.autoglassweek.com.

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