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Former GM Executive Predicts Automotive Trends to Hit Glass Industry

Don Ableson, president of Ableson Consulting LLC and former executive director of the North American Specialty Vehicle Activity for General Motors, told approximately 60 auto glass industry professionals in Tucson Tuesday morning that he expects the trends from the automotive industry to soon pour into the auto glass industry. He took attendees of the NAG National Auto Glass Conference through a variety of recent of headlines that have appeared in the news, such as ones dealing with changing global economics, various economic factors throughout the world and the fuel issues the world has been experiencing.

"These headlines are precursors of evolutionary changes that will be happening to our industry," Ableson said.

He also noted that with the economy in its current state, what customers are looking for is changing too.

"To succeed as a business today, you must have the highest quality and the lowest price," Ableson said, adding that this is compelling many manufacturers to outsource parts (CLICK HERE for related story.)

He also mentioned the possible sale of PPG's auto glass business to Platinum Equity and the litigation that has followed, along with the sale of Ford's Tulsa glass plant (CLICK HERE for related story).

"Time will tell the final chapter for these two glass companies," Ableson added.

Finally, for future trends, Ableson noted the explosion of panoramic sunroofs (noting he saw several in the parking lot of the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort in Tucson, where this week's conference is being held), along with an increase in heads-up displays. He also mentioned a December 23 New York Times headline about Porsche possibly taking over Volkswagen in the near future.

In ending, Ableson said said, "The glass industry must embrace the principles of the OEMs, including global consolidation "

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