What Were the Top Stories of 2015?

From driverless vehicles to criminal charges, acquisitions and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) calibration, 2015 was a big year for the AGRR industry. News from the big technology show in Las Vegas—CES—Safelite, C.R. Laurence, Belron, Pittsburgh Glass Works (PGW) and others dominated the top-ten list of most clicked on glassBYTEs.com™ stories for the year.

1) So which story came in with the most clicks for 2015? Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was based on the latest technology news coming out of CES in Last Vegas—“CES: Driverless Cars Are Coming; Ready or Not?” The vital relationship between technology and glass has never been more apparent than at the CES event in 2015. And stay tuned because we’ll be onsite in 2016 to bring you the latest from the showroom floor.

2) Following close on the technology story’s heels, was “Former Safelite AutoGlass Employee Indicted for $1.5 Million Company Theft.”  Franklin County, Ohio-based grand jury indicted Aaron Wisenbarger, 37, for allegedly stealing $1.56 million from Safelite AutoGlass during his time as an accounts payable assistant manager with the company.

3) Number three involved news of a huge acquisition—“Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope® Acquires C.R. Laurence.” Los Angeles-based CRL is expected to be independently managed and operated as a subsidiary of OBE and will retain all existing management structures and personnel, according to OBE.

4) News about Safelite cropped up again in the top ten list with “Safelite Settles with Illinois Couple for $8 Million.” After two and a half weeks of trial in the Cook County Circuit Court, Safelite Group settled with Ronald and Margaret Furst who were in an accident allegedly caused by a Safelite technician in a work van, their attorneys say.

5) Number five on the list was the story of the “Arizona Company Owner Arrested for Allegedly Submitting False Glass Claims.” This story covered news of the arrest of Precision 1 Auto Glass owner Donald Parra, 41, of Mesa, Ariz. He was charged with “several felony charges including identity theft and insurance fraud after making fictitious automobile glass claims to insurance companies,” including Farmer’s Insurance, according to the state insurance fraud unit.

6) “Police: Terminated Safelite Tech Shoots Out Dozens of Vehicle Windows” also captured quite a few clicks. In November, former Safelite AutoGlass technician, Anthony “Tony” Jackson of Enid, Okla., was charged with cruelty to an animal as well as reckless conduct with a firearm for allegedly shooting out windows on 42 vehicles, said Captain Jack Morris of the local police department.

7) A white hot topic in 2015 is ADAS calibration, and so when Belron announced it can now perform this protocol worldwide, the industry paid attention. “Lubner: We Are Equipped Worldwide to Deliver ADAS Calibration,” reported on insights from the company’s investor day in London.

“All cars now are going to have these Advanced Driver Assistance Systems [ADAS] and if you don’t get the calibration right, it has pretty serious consequences and so we are obviously speaking to insurance companies around the world. We are now equipped worldwide to be able to deliver ADAS calibration,” said Gary Lubner, CEO of Belron during the event.

8) The eighth spot went to PGW Sues Former Plant Engineer Alleging “Misappropriation of Trade Secrets.” Pittsburgh Glass Works (PGW) filed a complaint against a former employee earlier this year for misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract, conversion, breach of fiduciary duties, and tortious interference with contractual and business relations. The employee resigned from his position as a senior process engineer at PGW’s Evansville, Ind., plant and joined Fuyao Glass Industry Group Co. Ltd. (FYG) in violation of a non-compete contract he had signed with PGW, attorneys for automotive glass company wrote in the court documents.

9) The ninth article in the list shared news about a website that bills itself as “topclassactions.com.” The website published a report that hinted of a potential legal action against Safelite AutoGlass. The website mentioned in “Website Publishes Report Questioning Safelite AutoGlass’ Practices” appears to be connected with the legal industry, although glassBYTEs.com™ editors were unable to confirm its actual ownership.

10) Rounding out the top 10 list was “Automotive Glass Companies Ranked in Annual List,” in which Entrepreneur Magazine released its list of top 500 franchises for 2015. Five companies that offer AGRR services made the list.

Stay tuned to glassBYTEs.com™ for all the news in 2016. Happy New Year!

This article is from glassBYTEs™, the free e-newsletter that covers the latest auto glass industry news. Click HERE to sign up—there is no charge. Interested in a deeper dive? Free subscriptions to Auto Glass Repair and Replacement (AGRR) magazine in print or digital format are available. Subscribe at no charge HERE.

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