BEFORE he became the face of and spokesman for Brembo in the Philippines, Francis Aguila worked at the family’ glass factory that produced glass products for trucks and buses under the brand Aguila.
“I used to run the [glass]factory. That was my job, I worked there for 12 years, first in Cainta [Rizal] and then in Santa Rosa [Laguna],” he said adding that the plant was transferred from Cainta to Santa Rosa because the latter became the hub of vehicle manufacturing in the Philippines.
Although the factory stopped operating because the manufacture of trucks and buses in the Philippines drastically slowed down, Aguila remains the trusted brand in the replacement market for automotive glass. The brand also dates back to the early 1950s.
While Universal Glass is officially the company behind the brand, it is the Aguila name that is more known to the public. And three generations of Aguilas took good care of the brand name. Francis may no longer be directly involved in the business but his advisory role in Universal Glass cannot be overlooked.
“We are now in our third generation and our first branch was in Avenida, Rizal [Manila]. By the time my lolo [grandfather]retired, I think in 1972, the second generation took over, my dad, my uncle and my aunt,” he said.
Today, Aguila glass has more than 20 branches located in Muntinlupa, Makati, Manila, Marikina, Parañaque, Pasig, Quezon City, Valenzuela, Angeles, La Union, Baguio, Cabanatuan, Dagupan, Lipa, Naga, San Fernando, Baliwag, Laoag, Legazpi and Cavite.
Francis said Universal Glass has partner factories in Vietnam, Thailand, China, Malaysia that supply automotive glasses to them. The company, however, does not simply import and sell – it also tests the products that will eventually be sold in the market.
He added that it is very important that the products Universal Glass supplies to the market pass strict quality standards set by the Bureau of Product Standards of the Department of Trade and Industry.
“At Aguila, we have one of the only government-certified testing facility [for automotive glass]in the country up to now. We started that [facility and testing]about 15 years ago,” Francis said.
“The public has to be aware of the ICC [Import Commodity Clearance] and or PSM [Philippine Standard Certification Mark],” Aguila added.
IMPORTANCE OF THE WINDSHIELD
What many motorists do not know is the windshield is more than just a glass panel to protect the driver and a vehicle’s occupants from outside elements. Also, automotive windshields should have a minimum level of defects.
“There is an acceptable standard for visual clarity because No. 1 it should be clear, without any grade [similar to reading glasses], no distortions, it doesn’t make a person dizzy,” Francis said.
“The maximum is two or three defects, with each defect no bigger than one millimeter,” he added.
Although windshields with minimum defects can still be tolerated by some motorists, Francis said those with cracks, no matter how small, should be replaced the soonest time possible.
“The reason for that is the glass in modern cars are structural, meaning that when the manufacturer designed the car in terms of crash safety, in terms of structural rigidity and body, the glass is a structural component. Meaning if the glass is compromised, then the entire structure [of a vehicle]is compromised,” he added.
This means that Universal Glass should also provide automotive glass panels that meet standards set by vehicle manufacturers worldwide.
“The first thing people have to realize is it’s our name that is on the products. It’s not ABC glass, it’s not 123 glass, it’s Aguila Glass. And if something goes wrong, it’s our name that will get ruined. To us, reputation is very important,” Francis said.