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Chinese How it Affects Your Fleet

With an economy that is growing at a rate of 7% per year, China may become the worlds biggest economy. With an almost unlimited supply of inexpensive labor, and possibly 200 million underemployed workers in rural areas that could fuel an already booming economy, China is penetrating more and more markets. Although Chinas past success has largely been propelled with unskilled labor, they are also evolving into a high tech supplier as well.

In the auto glass industry alone, the effect of Chinese glass has changed the landscape of the American glass industry. They entered the U.S. market with a price that was about 40% below the going market rate. Things came to a head in 2001, when three U.S. manufacturers (PPG, Safelite, and Viracon) filed suit against the Chinese with dumping charges (pricing goods at a lower price than sold for in the home country to capture another market.). However, they lost their suit on appeal.

Although China entered the auto glass industry with a lower quality product, the quality is steadily increasing. In 2001, Fuyao, a Chinese manufacturer, won the highest prize awarded for excellence by Ford Motor Company.

Domestic auto glass manufacturing companies have been faced with a major problem in an effort to compete with the Chinese. Ed Gabriel, President of GMS Autoglass, has been following the impact of Chinese glass on domestic markets. Local glass manufacturers have had to substantially raise prices on parts not yet made in China to compensate for the economic loss of profit on parts actually made in China. This has led to an addendum price list which they have imposed on the industry as an alternative to the benchmark price list (NAGS).

One of the ways domestic companies are seeking to become more profitable is to outsource and move manufacturing processes overseas.

What will the future hold for the impact of Chinese glass in America? Well, probably better prices that will continue to pain (no pun intended) domestic glass suppliers, and additional struggles within NAGS to get an accurate pricing model.

Intelligent Glass

How smart is your windshield? This is a real question that you may be asking yourself in the future.

In August, scientists at the University College London discovered a formula for an intelligent glass coating that blocks heat without blocking light.

Until now, the only way to keep your car cool has been through tinting (solar glass) that blocks both light and heat. This new coating, called vanadium dioxide coating, allows light to pass through but reflects infrared light when the temperature rises above 84.2 degrees Fahrenheit.

The result is that you always get visible light. However, you only get the infrared light when you want it in cooler temperatures, not when you dont want it in the heat. For more information see sciencedaily.com.

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