Industry Responds to Guardian Auto Glass Selling Retail Assets to Safelite

“I look at Safelite like the New York Yankees,” says Mark Liston, president of Glass Doctor, describing Safelite’s recent purchase of Guardian’s retail assets. “Who they can buy, they will. Simple as that.”

Earlier this month, Safelite announced it had reached an agreement to acquire substantially all the vehicle glass repair assets of Guardian Auto Glass LLC, a joint venture of Guardian Industries Corp. and LRST LLC. Additionally, Safelite Group reached an agreement to acquire the vehicle glass insurance claims management assets of Guardian Glass Network, not including its RV glass claims management operations.

News of the sale to Safelite comes on the heels of Guardian announcing it is exiting the local distribution business.

“If you are like me and you believe in the value of competition, then you have to believe that more competition is better and less is worse,” says Paul Gross, president and CEO of HSG/CodeBlue. “This transaction is only further evidence that our industry is being dominated by a single national glass retailer and true competition is being depleted, which will undoubtedly lead to higher costs for the insurance community and their policyholders.

“It continues to amaze me that a company with a first-party interest to the fulfillment of the claim can convince their customers that they are a third-party administrator,” he adds.

“I was chagrined but not surprised when the news of the sale of the AGR-related assets of Guardian to Safelite was announced,” writes Neil Duffy, owner of Auto Glass Menders in San Jose, Calif., in a recent blog post on View from the Trenches.

“The inexorable and unchecked expansion of Belron [Safelite’s parent company] into the American automotive glass market continues. The landscape within the automotive glass industry proceeds to change and in many ways shrink. One wonders what the industry will evolve to in the next decade or two. However it evolves, it is my guess that indie shops and distributors will bear the brunt of that change,” he adds.

Technicians and company owners also spoke out about the deal on the glassBYTEs.com™/AGRR™ magazine forum here.

“Wow, quite a turn of events. I hope all are treated well,” writes a poster.

“Guardian was a great company to work for prior to the first sale. We were trained properly and enjoyed the working environment. Things changed with the sale and many of the experienced installers left. Now with this change, I, too, feel for those who are left,” writes “DAG.”

“Many of us knew when it was sold the first time, it was going to be sold off again and we were not going to wait. Big changes sometimes mean bigger and better opportunities. Just waiting to see how many more open their own shops,” he adds.

What is your reaction to the news? Email jreed@glass.com with your feedback or comment here.

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5 Responses to Industry Responds to Guardian Auto Glass Selling Retail Assets to Safelite

  1. Keith @ L&M Auto Glass says:

    These “takeovers” have to stop. We are based out of an area where safelite is not seen as a quality company and customers will shop around. And yet more insurance companies are going thru their call center, and we do not hear from that companies customers after that. If this is not monopolizing the industry then I don’t know what is.

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  3. John Smith says:

    This changes nothing for us independent auto glass owners. Safelite continues to steer customers everyday. Look at the lawsuit in CT and the new crap thats going on in Michigan with hanover. What they’re doing is against the law and we all know it. In CT they’re saying its not fair they have to suggest another company for insurance work. Really? Tom feeney is the biggest joke in the auto glass business. 2 times bankrupt going on number 3. They have let go all their good techs and are hiring guys who don’t know whats going on for 12 bucks an hour using that easy wire. I buy glass from saflelite on occasion and they keep raising thier pricings. Its going to take us small business owners to go after safelite and belron to take them down.

    • Daveycrewcut says:

      J Smith, forget about Bel/Safe go after the real problem -the Insurance Companies! There is no way they can justify selecting such a biased TPA to handle their claims.

  4. SAM KILLEBREW says:

    I see the real problem as being the Auto Glass replacement Associations.

    Why would any business join and pay dues to an association that has very little clout if any and doesn’t work to stop the monopolizing of this industry by Safelite. This is an issue that needs federal regulations and the associations SHOULD be the ones carrying this to Congress.

    The only other avenue for the independents are state laws to protect the smaller companies which should be carried by the state associations and or chapters.

    This will NEVER go away until it is addressed in the courts..

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