Safelite AutoGlass, the nation’s largest automotive glass installation company, will close its manufacturing plant in Enfield, N.C., and cease manufacturing automotive glass parts before the end of the year. Safelite has been manufacturing vehicle glass since 1947. The Enfield plant, which has been in operation since 1970, is expected to close by the end of October.
According to an article posted on glassBYTES.com, Safelite CEO Tom Feeney said, “It’s a difficult decision for us, but the world has changed and automotive glass technology has changed. Vehicles require more complex parts that are very expensive to make. Automated Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) will become mainstream much more quickly than any anticipated. It is not feasible for us to continue in manufacturing.”
Safelite officials say the decision was based on the increased complexity and cost of manufacturing such parts. Feeney also said that the opening of Fuyao Glass America’s new plant in Moraine, Ohio, impacted the decision.
Safelite has not announced where it will source windshield and other glass components that were produced at the North Carolina plant, which manufactured an estimated 1 million replacement windshields annually.
“That’s still to be decided,” Feeney told glassBYTES. “We have been talking to a number of them [manufacturers]. We have a strategic relationship with AGC already as well. Given the capacity in the market, I don’t think we will have a problem choosing suppliers.”