China-based Asashi Glass Co. announced it is establishing an auto glass plant at its subsidiary AGC Flat Glass Co. (AFS) in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China. The new auto glass plant will have the capacity to equip about 1.2 million vehicles a year, increasing the company’s overall capacity to about 3.6 million vehicles.
Production for laminated and tempered glass for vehicles is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2015.
AGC will “gradually stop running the manufacturing facilities for photovoltaic cover glass at AFS … and will convert the relevant assets into a plant for producing automotive glass,” according to officials.
With Chinese auto production expected to surpass 20 million units in 2013 and continue growing at about 5 percent annually, management says the changeover makes sense.
“To cope with growing demand for automotive glass, AGC considers it necessary to further expand production capacity for this glass,” officials write in a statement.
“Meanwhile, selling prices of the cover glass of solar cells are rapidly dropping due to excessive capital investments by Chinese glass manufacturers,” officials continue. “Against this backdrop, in 2012, AGC closed a photovoltaic cover glass plant in the U.S., and stopped producing raw glass for photovoltaic cover glass in the Philippines. Despite such measures, however, profitability of the photovoltaic cover glass business is deteriorating as the situation of lower prices for such glass has not been improved, hurt by excessive supply,” officials add.