Tompkins Clarifies Testimony on OEM vs. Replacement Installations in 2003 Ultra Bond Suit
June 8, 2009

In recent months, testimony SIKA Corp. western sales manager Carl Tompkins provided in a 2003 suit involving long-crack repair has been circulated around the Internet and throughout the industry and has been the topic of much discussion. Tompkins took the time this week to clarify the testimony, which he says dealt with whether OEM installations (completed in the factory) are always preferable to aftermarket installations.

“ … State Farm contacted me for an opinion, considering my 30-plus years in the industry, concerning the subject of OEM auto glass installations and aftermarket installations and whether OEM auto glass installations can be consistently considered more trustworthy than those completed in the aftermarket,” Tompkins says. “My response was, ‘no,’ which I substantiated with a number of situations where OEM auto glass installations have been found to have problems with proper glass retention. In summary, while both the aftermarket and OEM glass installations have respectable track records, both, too, have experienced their share of problems, but neither can fairly be considered more reliable than the other.”

In the 2003 testimony, Tompkins writes, “Although there is room for improvement, the incidence of injuries, or alleged injuries, from improperly replaced windshields is extremely low. At a national conference conducted in Minneapolis on May 25, a panel of experts shared that in the last 20 years over 120 million windshields have been replaced. Within this body of work only 9 known suits have been filed referencing fault within the glass replacement; a percentage of failure too small to measure.”

Some industry representatives have questioned whether the above statement contradicts some of the statements Tompkins has made at various safety presentations regarding the prevalence of safe aftermarket installations. However, Tompkins says the testimony is on a different topic—whether OEM installations are always better than aftermarket—and that there is no other correlation between the two items.

“Pertaining to the question of my opinion conflicting with the message and intent of AGRSS, to be accurate in judgment, there is no direct correlation,” he says. “My opinion to State Farm focused strictly on the subject of comparing OEM installation to after market installation, while my message concerning AGRSS is that the only people having the right to conduct auto glass installations are those who do it right.”

He adds, “I'm of the same opinion of [the OE manufacture] of automobiles in that I hope that the paint and primer systems function properly as part of the auto glass retention system and that the robotic applicators remember to agitate the auto glass primers properly during the auto glass installation process, etc. For the life of me, I cannot think of anyone with a lick of common sense that wouldn't agree with these two positions.”

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