Different Quality of Glass: Domestic vs. Foreign

Windshield Surgeons Auto Glass and affiliated Arnolds Windshield Distributors are among Canada’s largest automotive glass suppliers. We we distribute over 100,000 windshields and other glass parts each year.

The glass we distribute is sourced primarily from 3 suppliers through exclusive or semi-exclusive purchasing agreements. Each are OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) producers and have the quality standards to prove it. Glass producers reserve their “OEM” stamps for car companies but not their glass. Since we purchase directly from these suppliers, we can give you the same windshields off the same production lines. It is a perfect way to obtain OEM quality without the price tag.

These agreements mean that us, and our clients, are able to offer you the highest quality glass at unbeatable prices.

Domestic Vs. Foreign

Years ago, there was a clear divide in glass quality based on where is was produced. Mature North American and European glass producers actually made their glass domestically. While glass sourced from other foreign countries (or “Chinese Glass”) was made by smaller organizations – frequently at a lower standard.

However, the glass industry is no exception to the process of globalization. North American producers have outsourced much of their production to various countries around the globe. Yes, including China. North America usually no longer has the most technologically advanced factories.

A prime example of this is PGW (formerly PPG) which is not only one of our suppliers but is also the largest OEM supplier in North America. Here is an excerpt from their website describing where their glass comes from (link included):

“glass manufacturing and assembly operations in North America, Europe and Asia” – http://www.pgwglass.com/ourcompany/Pages/default.aspx

When purchasing from PGW (or similar), many smaller glass shops will tell customers they are installing “North American glass”. While there is a chance that they are not aware of the distinction, this statement is false. Just because glass is purchased from a North American company, does not mean it was produced here – or that it is any good.

The fact is, to our knowledge, there is no major automotive glass supplier that still exclusively sells glass produced inside North America. This includes automotive manufacturers or “dealership glass”.

Many companies do little to dispel the notion that because they are a North American company, they must get their glass domestically. Some, such as Ford (Carlite), intentionally make it sound like their glass is exclusively domestic even though that isn’t true.

What matters for quality is not “where” but rather “who” it is purchased from. Is it from a reputable major world supplier with OEM quality standards? Also, just as importantly, is it being installed by trained technicians who know how to protect you and your vehicle?

What does this mean to me as a consumer?

It is good news! You don’t have to purchase glass from dealerships with price tags in the thousands in order to obtain quality glass.

Don’t allow scare tactics of any independent glass shop, or outdated mentality, deter you. You can receive quality glass and quality service for a fair price. Purchase from a reputable company who is not afraid to discuss their glass, and has a warranty to back quality. You will save yourself both effort and expense.

You can have confidence that any glass installed by Windshield Surgeons Auto Glass meets or exceeds OEM standards. Your service will be done with all the proper procedures that are often overlooked by other shops. For more information surrounding proper installation and the products required for a quality installation, see: https://www.windshieldsurgeons.com/quality-and-safety/

As a point of interest, here is a diagram from ONE of our suppliers listing who they are OEM producers for:

OEM FY Chart

Not all production agreements are public. However, here is the list of the automotive manufacturers that we know our suppliers produce OEM glass for as of August 2016:

Ford, General Motors (GM), Jeep, Chevrolet, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Honda, Buick, Fiat, Hyundai, Mazda, Land Rover, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, BMW, Opel, Dodge, Chrysler, Peugeot, CAT, Cadillac, Bently, Volkswagen, TATA, Audi, Suzuki, Izuzu, Volvo, Porsche, Citroen, and many more brands across the globe.

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