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Not All Windshields Are Created Equal

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Buying Blind

Is a windshield a windshield? That's what consumers think. These days you can find out about any products performance and reviews except for windshields. Consumers and auto glass businesses have no idea about the quality of the windshields they buy. This affects the cash market, the price of repairing a windshield and of course the insurance industry and NAGS get to price fix the industry.

We all get that phone call everyday from the consumers saying, “ I need a new windshield”. My reply to them is, “what kind of windshield would you like?” and the call goes silent.

I have a son who has been blind since the age of six from retinoblastoma. He is now twenty-four and on his own. The word blind for me is a painful word but I could not think of any better word to describe the way consumers, and we in the auto glass business, have to buy windshields.

When my family goes out to a restaurant either my wife or I read the menu for my son so he can make his buying decision. Consumers want and deserve information about the food and products they buy including those of us that are reselling safety products to consumers in our businesses. Consumer Reports is one non-profit that consumers can turn to get non-bias feedback on products so they do not have to buy blind, such as cars, tires, smart phones, vacuum cleaners, ovens, TVs and computers. The internet now has feedback and ratings on just about everything these days, except for windshields. Most people spend more time looking at their windshield everyday then they do looking at their spouse and kids. You would think there would be more information out there on such an important safety devise.

I have personally been involved in fracture testing windshield brands in a lab and in surveys but I know of no one else who has. None of them had identical scores. There are differences. Many of you repairers and installers know it too from your experience, not from readily available information on the brands. An Ultra Bond customer of mine that does repairs and replacements was approached by a windshield manufacturer sales representative. My customer told that sales rep that he would never put that brand of windshield in HIS customer’s car. The sales rep’s reply to him was that it was smart business to install this brand, it was cheap to buy and he would get more business because he would replace it more often. That sales rep definitely knows his product.

Let’s compare the choices, prices and information a buyer gets when they walk into McDonald’s for a hamburger versus what we in the auto glass business get when we buy a safety devise/windshield, (not including the nutritional information you can obtain on McDonald's website). Have you ever seen a TV commercial by a windshield manufacturer toting why their windshield is better than the others? I have not. What do you think would be the most important feature to the consumer?

Choices and Information on buying a:
McDonald's Hamburger Calories Price
Hamburger 250 $1
Cheeseburger 300 $1
Double Cheesburger 440 $2
Grilled Onion Cheddar 310 $1
BBQ Ranch Burger 350 $1
McDouble 390 $1.29
Big Mac 540 $3.99
Quarter Pounder w/ Cheese 520 $3.99
Deluxe Quarter Pounder 540 $4.99
Bacon Habanero Ranch 1/4 lb 610 $4.39
Bacon McDouble 460 $1.69
Identification # and LettersShop PriceNAGS fair & reasonable priceHartford Ins. indemnification for like kind & quality?
42% of NAGS
DW01551 GTN- PGW $45.17 $210.30 $121.97
DW01551 GBY-PGW $64.06 $210.30 $121.97
DW01551 GBN  -PGW $89.01 $210.30 $121.97
DW01551 GTY -PGW $61.76 $210.30 $121.97
DW01551 GBY- FYG $69.34 $210.30 $121.97
DW01551 GBY -PLK $69.34 $210.30 $121.97
DW01551 GTY -PLK $69.83 $210.30 $121.97
DW01551 GBY- FYG $69.34 $210.30 $121.97
DW01548 GTY- CAR $118.60 $210.30 $121.97
DW01548  GTY -FYG $103.40 $210.30 $121.97
DW01548 GTY -XYG $103.40 $210.30 $121.97

Example- Now if a Hartford insured consumer needs a new windshield which windshield is the auto glass shop going to install when he is going to be paid the same price no matter which windshield he installs? The $45.17 or the $118.60? Do you think the shop is going to mention anything about quality, brand or features if the shop is the one that is going to have to pay for it? If the consumer has a green band the shops has to pay for it, if the consumer wants a Carlite windshield the shop has to pay for it. Since the insurer indemnification payment for like kind and quality is the same price no matter what windshield is installed the windshield manufacturers are advertising to the wrong market. Marketing to the auto glass shops that are price fixed by the insurers is a waste of your advertising budget. Windshield manufacturers should market to the consumer unless of course you are all the same and do not think you are better than your competition. I think windshield manufacturers should start marketing their differences to consumers before someone else does it for them.


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References

   FAQ
   Before/After Photos
   Incorrect Resin Photos
   Correct Resin Photos
   Fundamentals of Windshield Repair Adhesives
   Repairable Windshield Damage
   Windshields are Made to Crack
   Windshields Repair Standard (ROLAGS)

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