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CPFilms marketing the automotive film

Post Time:Sep 19,2008Classify:Company NewsView:629

In a promotional video for CPFilms' automotive window film, a machine re-creates a side-impact car accident. It slams into a car that has a driving mannequin, and predictably, pebble-sized pieces of glass splatter inside and outside of the vehicle.

Yet when CPFilms' safety and security film is applied to the inside of the side windows, the glass doesn't fly into the car.

Instead, the broken pieces stick to the film.

For years, CPFilms — a subsidiary of Town and Country-based chemicals maker Solutia Inc. — has made solar films for automobiles. It also has made window films for houses and office buildings to protect against hurricanes and strong winds.

When CPFilms realized its authorized dealers were using the architectural film on vehicles' windows for added protection, "we saw the need (for) offering safety film," said Andres Vasquez, the global product development manager.

After developing the product over the last three years, the company recently unveiled its LLumar Automotive Safety and Security Film. The film can be applied at any point in a vehicle's lifetime, but it's only being sold to a network of CPFilms-designated dealers, who then professionally install it.

Including installation fees, the product costs between $400 to $700, according to CPFilms.

The film, which is essentially layers of polyester, comes in clear and tinted versions and is applied to the interior sides of the windows. By law, windshields cannot be altered, so the film only can go on the side and rear windows.

Vehicles' side windows have what is known as tempered glass, where the glass is crafted to shatter into pebbles instead of shards.

"But there's still a possibility of being injured" when those pebbles fly into a car during a side-impact crash, said Russ Rader, a spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a nonprofit in Arlington, Va., dedicated to reducing auto-related deaths, injuries and property damages.

The film might offer some benefit, Rader said, but his group did not have any studies on the film's effectiveness.

Stephany Davenport, the brand manager for CPFilms, said the product not only protects passengers in an accident but also offers protection against smash-and-grab vehicle break-ins.

CPFilms' promotional video demonstrates that delay. In less than four seconds, a tester was able to smash through an unprotected window using a rock and grab a purse on the other side. With the film installed, it took the same man more than 40 seconds to break through the film and get the purse.

"We're not saying you can't break it," Davenport said. "We're saying it takes longer."

That delay, CPFilms said, draws attention to a break-in and can discourage a thief.

There are other automotive films on the market, comparable to the product by CPFilms, that provide similar safety and security protection.

CPFilms marketed the automotive film to 150 select dealers nationwide in March, and on Aug. 1, it expanded the campaign to reach more than 4,000 dealers. Most of the dealers are small businesses that specialize in window films.

The new film has been installed on at least 50 vehicles since its March launch, said Davenport, adding that the film is still in its initial marketing phase.

For many new films, Davenport added, it takes several months for dealers to promote the products.

"Like anything else, it takes a while for (consumers) to understand the product is available" and see the benefits it could provide, she said.

Local installations have been few. Some area dealers authorized to install the LLumar safety and security film said they have not received many, if any, calls for the film.

Craig Moore, owner of St. Louis Window Tinting in Chesterfield and Eureka, installed his first LLumar safety and security auto film this week — in an Acura TSX owned by Frank Leta Acura in south St. Louis County.

Frank Leta Acura decided to pay for the film on one car because "we try to display any technological advances" in the auto industry, said General Manager Steve Brown. A niche of car buyers, those looking to customize their cars and have the "latest and greatest" technology, would be interested in the film, Brown said.

Moore has initially marketed the film to automotive dealerships because "as pricey as it is, you'll find that they're willing to pay" for it. But despite the slow economy, he plans to eventually focus more on individual drivers. Once people are aware of the benefits, he said, there will be demand.

Source: www.stltoday.comAuthor: shangyi

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