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The latest trends in automotive window film

Thursday, June 21, 2018 - 07:00
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Automotive window film has become one of the top performing aftermarket products in the automotive industry. With 500,000 independent U.S. based manufacturers, distributors, parts stores and repair shops in the industry, according to the Auto Care Association, it can be difficult for consumers to choose the right products and services to meet their needs.

That’s why it’s important for aftermarket professionals to stay up to date on the latest trends, technology and products that can impact their customers. Here are just a few auto film trends to keep in mind as we head into the hot summer season.

Advanced technology
Advancements in technology can be a game changer for many industries, including window film. The films currently being manufactured have better performance and include superior offerings than the window films of the past. Advanced technology and scientific research ultimately have created more customers for shop owners. Automotive window film is appealing to more people because the solution now does more than just darken windows. Auto film solves numerous problems for drivers, which is a great benefit to shop owners and installers. Issues that drivers wish to solve include an uncomfortable drive due to bright sunlight shining through windows and heating up the vehicle, blinding glare, and cracked and faded interiors. A simple installation of automotive film can resolve all of these concerns.

New film offerings include improved colors and shades so consumers can match their car’s factory tinted windows or overall aesthetic. Quality manufacturers are even able to guarantee their films won’t peel, bubble, crack, or yellow while under a lifetime warranty. Advancements in film manufacturing have made huge improvements in the longevity of the product. It’s good to be aware of all of these benefits, as it will make film easier to sell to vehicle owners.

Advanced technology in this industry has also improved film related tools for installers and shop owners. Advanced cutting machines or plotters have made it far easier for shops to complete tint jobs faster, meaning more profits.  These film plotters, like Madico’s Advanced Cutting System (MACS), work in tandem with sophisticated design software to save shop owners both time and money.

Big shift towards Infrared Films
Infrared films are not new in the film manufacturing industry. However, ceramic films have recently become much more popular with drivers as word has spread about their superior heat reduction capabilities; offering drivers a more comfortable ride without the look of dark, tinted windows.  

Every big name in the window film industry is now striving to produce IR automotive films and it’s an arms race to get them into the hands of installers. This crowded market offers drivers a lot of options in IR film selection. Consumers should consult with a professional installer and obtain solar performance data on each product to assist in making a decision regarding the infrared film that will best suit their needs.

Many manufacturers offer a summary of each film’s product performance specifications, see an example here.

Infrared films absorb and redirect long-wave infrared heat instead of just letting it pass through the window. Infrared light is the non-visible light that plays a major factor in solar heat gain. Some films offer as much as 92% infrared rejection, reducing the fading of a vehicle’s interior and improving comfort.

Changing legislation
The window film industry is constantly adapting to ever-changing legislation. State to state the policies, requirements, and specifications differ. This puts a lot of pressure on manufactures to have a flexible product for dealers and installers in a variety of shades that meets the varying requirements.

In 2017, for example, the state of New York implemented a new law requiring testing of window tint during a vehicle’s annual state inspection. If a car registered in New York has tint with a visible light transmission below 70 percent, the vehicle will fail inspection. Film dealers should maintain strong relationships with their film manufacturers to make sure they have the right products available to drivers.

As we head into the summer, automotive film will continue to be a popular product for consumers across the U.S.  The technology will continue to improve, and automotive film will continue to provide many benefits to drivers and their passengers.

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