Europe launches autoglass federation
.. federation. Trade associations decided to form...
A variety of groups from different countries have initiated a new
international federation to represent the automotive glass industry.
A variety of groups from different countries have initiated a new international federation to represent the automotive glass industry. National trade associations from the US, Japan and some European countries decided to form the association called the International Automotive Glass Federation (IAGF) in 2007 and it was announced in December.
|Pim de Ridder, managing director for the International Automotive Glass Federation.|
The chairman of the new federation is Freddy Grumstrup Sørensen, CEO of Mobilglas ApS in Denmark and Sweden, who is also a member of various branch committees for the Auto Glass Repair and Replacement (AGRR) industry in the US. “It is high time that our specialized branch prepares a good platform for international co-operation. Our market uses international products in vehicles such as glass and adhesives. Legislation is becoming more of an international issue as well. And in the middle is the automotive glass professional who should no longer be narrowed by national or even continental borders,” says Sørensen.
Managing director, Pim de Ridder says the new federation enables countries that are still missing national trade associations to be represented as well and he is inviting Canada to participate. “One or more leading companies could be around the international table to help stimulate a national trade association. We hope to have Canada on-board and we are working on the possibility of having Canadian autoglass specialists represented at our meetings,” he says.
Previously, the autoglass sector in Europe was represented as a division in the European Glass and Glazing Association, UEMV (Union Européenne des Miroitiers Vitriers), an umbrella organization for the flat glass industry with 11 member countries. However, de Ridder says the autoglass sector has matured to the point where it felt that it needed its own voice. “During the last seven years, the autoglass group became stronger and didn’t feel at home there anymore,” he says.
One of the reasons for this growth has been an event called the International Master Fitter Competition. The event hosts champion autoglass technicians who have won competitions in their respective countries to compete against each other to determine who performs the highest quality autoglass replacement and repair. Held every other year in conjunction with the Glasstec in Dusseldorf, Germany, the event aims to promote training and excellence in the autoglass industry.
Since its inception it has become very popular, attracting the attention of the US when the National Glass Association (NGA) accepted an offer to participate in the International Master Fitter Competition. The NGA now holds its own installer competition sending the winner to Dusseldorf to compete in the international competition. “The Master Fitter Competition has allowed us to set up a network of autoglass contacts from other countries who were not so interested in being part of a co-operation with the flat glass industry,” says de Ridder.
Sørensen underlines that the new federation has no connection with other glass and glazing activities. “The international co-operation that we have seen until now was always more or less linked to ‘old brother’ architectural glass. I am glad that ‘InterAutoGlass’ allows my colleagues and I to stand on our own feet. It is not without reason that we are specialists,” he says.
The International Automotive Glass Federation will focus especially on technical standards and codes, training programs and health and safety issues. These activities will be visible in national and international events for autoglass technicians and installers. Manufacturers and suppliers to the industry will have the position of ‘special member’ in the federation. The office of the new federation is in De Rijp, The Netherlands. For more information visit: www.interautoglass.org -end-