Vitro America Says It Will Now Focus on "Core Strength" as It Exits Auto Glass Business
June 18, 2009

Vitro America, which is selling its auto glass distribution business to Pittsburgh Glass Works (PGW), effective June 24, will now focus on its "core strength," the architectural glass and aluminum business, according to a letter faxed to auto glass distribution customers yesterday.

"Over the years, both [architectural glass and aluminum and automotive replacement glass] have become much more complex, requiring full dedication and commitment by all employees involved in order to maintain continued success," writes Charles Witherington, vice president and general manager of the company.

He continues, "It has become increasingly difficult to be a leader in both businesses. Therefore, Vitro America has made the decision to exit the auto glass distribution business, and focus our efforts 100 percent in Architectural Glass and Aluminum. We have always viewed the latter as our core strength, and will now be able to commit all personnel and resources to the Flat Glass business in the future."

Vitro has sold all of its auto glass inventory to PGW, which will take over the business next Wednesday. After this date, Witherington notes, Vitro America will not be able to take any returns-and therefore any product that shops don't intend to use should be returned by then.

"PGW is focused solely on the automotive business, and is positioned better than any other distributor to service your auto glass needs," Witherington writes.

At press time, officials from Vitro America had declined to comment, but advised the company soon would be issuing a press release regarding the changes. It is not yet known how Vitro America's retail locations in its Binswanger Glass division will be affected by the sale.

As shop owners learned of the news yesterday, many questioned what the future might hold in store as the inventory transfers to PGW.

"This is not good news for us and many other glass shops throughout the Southeast as PGW's wholesale prices have been steadily rising and we get caught in the squeeze while trying to compete ...," said one Southeastern auto glass shop owner who wished to remain anonymous. "Things are changing."

Others suspected the transition could have a positive impact.

"I think that PGW customers will benefit from the additional inventory," says Larry Diesbach of Bachman Auto Glass. "Lately PGW's inventory in certain areas, mainly in Richmond, Va., [has seen] low levels of stock. Perhaps this was in preparation for the handling of the Vitro inventory … I hope that this helps the inventory out drastically."

How do you expect the sale of Vitro America's auto glass distribution business to PGW to impact your business? Please e-mail your thoughts to

CLICK HERE for full text of letter from Witherington.

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