Driven Brands Exec Talks Expansion Plans

Driven Brands shot to the number three spot in AGRR magazine’s 2022 list of Top Auto Glass Retailers in the category of companies with $100-$200 million in revenue. In April 2022, the company announced it was acquiring All Star Glass, number five on AGRR’s top retailer list. AGRR editorial director Tara Taffera interviewed Michael Macaluso, executive vice president and group president for Paint, Collision, and Glass for Driven Brands, recently to learn more about the company’s future growth plans. He has been with the company since 2015.

Michael Macaluso is executive vice president and group president for Paint, Collision, and Glass for Driven Brands

 (Editor’s note: This interview took place before the company acquired All Star Glass.)

Driven Brands is the parent company of Uniban, which includes Go!Glass, UniglassPlus, Star Auto Glass, VitroPlus, Docteur du Pare-Brise, as well as Auto Glass Now.

The overall organization of Driven Brands includes other automotive retailers and four business segments for the automotive aftermarket, including franchises and independent operations. Macaluso explains that the company is divided into three sub-segments: paint (Maaco), collision (ABRA, CARSTAR, and Fix Auto USA), and glass, including Auto Glass Now and Uniban.

AGRR: Are there any plans to create one unifying auto glass brand, or will you keep separate naming for your different auto glass companies?

Macaluso: We can’t dictate the future, but Auto Glass Now has been our main brand since January, which includes strong retail brand recognition in the markets it serves across the country in 79 locations. We will continue to grow in the same way we have for decades and take on all the opportunities to make the business a success.

AGRR: Driven Brands is number three on AGRR’s list of top retailers. How much more growth can we expect? Will you be overtaking the number two spot next year?

Macaluso: Mergers and acquisitions are our core strength, and we are excited to apply that same skill to auto glass. We are definitely pursuing new opportunities as we look to meet the needs of different consumers, whether it’s fleet, insurance, etc.

AGRR: There has been speculation that Driven Brands is working on challenging Safelite in the national marketplace. How do you respond to that?

Macaluso: Competition is great, and we have a tremendous amount of respect for our competitors. The glass industry is very fragmented with individual owners, so we have plans for continued expansion. We think our core strength is that we are the largest automotive services company across North America and because of that, we provide a range of automotive needs. We have a unique and robust set of resources while also being rooted in family-owned and operated businesses, setting us apart from others in the industry. This gives us a unique opportunity to bring to auto glass companies across the country.

AGRR:  How does your share break out between the U.S. and Canada? Do you see one, in particular, riper for growth?

Macaluso: Driven Brands first entered the glass business in Canada in 2019, and we now have 220 locations there. We kicked off 2022 with the acquisition of Auto Glass Now in the U.S., bringing us to more than 300 locations across the continent. Our focus is to grow and succeed in both countries, but the opportunity is that much larger in the U.S. due to the sheer size of the market.

AGRR: You have companies that specialize in auto glass only then you have companies such as ABRA involved in auto glass and bodywork, etc.  Do you think we will see more companies that do both?

Macaluso: It’s very interesting how the collision and glass markets are becoming more intertwined as the vehicle becomes more complex. ABRA is an incredible business that is entirely franchised with some owners having a strong presence in the glass part of the business. In the Minnesota market, for example, they have a big mobile and in-store presence. We have other collision stores in both CARSTAR and Fix Auto USA looking to diversify their portfolio. Auto Glass Now is exclusively glass.
AGRR: What will your model for calibration be?

Macaluso: Auto Glass Now performs its own calibrations. We want a safe proper standard repair and that requires calibration, whether it is collision or glass, so we want to follow prescribed rules and ensure the proper repair based on how the vehicle is made. We will provide that service. A big part of that is calibration, and how it is done. So, our first and foremost priority is making sure we do it correctly today.

AGRR: How will you drive insurance business? Do you have/are you contemplating working as a Third Party Administrator?

Macaluso: To explain where we are today I will use the collision business as an example. We have a very strong partnership and a good understanding of insurance needs. We are evaluating opportunities with our partners and if there is a need, we will engage with our partners to see if there is a solution.

AGRR: What is the most challenging item facing auto glass companies? What are you doing to help your shops combat this challenge? 

Macaluso: I think there are unique challenges to the glass market and then global challenges related to inflation and the pandemic that every business is encountering. We are focused on solutions we can bring to the table. How can we fix cars quicker? How can we provide the best customer service and provide the best working environment? We are excited about what we can do … we are very bullish on the auto glass business today. Glass is in every vehicle regardless of engine type. We are focused on how we can succeed and win in the ever-evolving part of the automotive aftermarket, which is auto glass.

To see more interviews like this, subscribe to AGRR magazine. It’s always free to those in the auto glass industry. Just go to agrrmag.com and click on subscriptions.

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