Car buying and processing will be the focus for Roseville, Mich.-based GLR Advanced Recycling, which announced that it recently sold its paper processing and recycling facilities to prioritize metal recycling.
In a press release, GLR stated that the shift in 2017 resulted in the company doubling its profits. “This growth solidifies our decision to focus on ferrous and non-ferrous markets,” said Michael Bassirpour, president and partner at GLR Advanced Recycling, in a statement.
In March, GLR opened a car buying and processing facility in Battle Creek, Mich., that will employ 10 people and process roughly 1,000 cars per month. GLR projects the Battle Creek yard will add more than $4 million in revenue annually. This is GLR’s sixth facility and the fourth where it can acquire cars.
While issues such as the new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum that will soon be in effect and China’s new legislations regarding the import of recyclables are creating waves throughout the marketplace, for GLR, it is changes in driver behavior and automotive technology that have been most critical in the decision to shift the company’s focus.
“I’m heavily betting on the idea that, in the next 30 or 40 years, there will be an influx of cars that will be scrapped because of the future with ride-sharing and self-driving vehicles. Cars are going to be completely changed. We would like to be in position to be able to handle cars from all different parts of the state, and, in a dream world, have locations that are in or around major cities with high populations that would generate a lot of scrap cars, all over the Midwest,” says Bassirpour, who noted that regions with severe weather have a tendency to have more scrap cars.
The company processes more than 45,000 vehicles each year. GLR recycles scrap vehicles from consumers, dealers and auction houses and works with a variety of automakers and automotive suppliers to recycle scrap metal from manufacturing locations throughout Michigan.
GLR’s competitive edge is in how it acquires vehicles and its commitment to providing top-notch customer service. Regarding cars, it takes them all. “We don’t discriminate—we take any year, make, model, color, anything,” says Bassirpour.
While traditional full-service or self-service parts yards buy used cars, they tend to be in the market for later model cars with parts that will be in demand, while shredders and traditional scrap yards are not aggressive about purchasing old cars because it takes a lot of resources to process them, says Bassirpour. “We have found that sweet spot, where we want the cars that the parts guys don’t necessarily want and we want the cars that the scrap yards don’t necessarily want. There are a lot of vehicles in that in-between area,” says Bassirpour.
Strong customer service has paid off for GLR. “Repeat business is key in the auto salvage industry,” says Jeff Sonne, auto division manager. “We expect our team members to treat each and every customer with the utmost respect and kindness. It’s an old saying, but we embrace the ‘treat people how you would want to be treated’ mentality. Our customers come first, and no matter the request or demand, we say, ‘Yes, we can,’ and deliver on that promise.”
The company’s focus on efficiency also separates GLR from the competition. GLR can process cars the same day they’re purchased. Its yards are capable of processing more than 100 cars per day, which gives the company tremendous buying power. GLR also offers same-day pickup, whether it is from a consumer with one car or a dealer with multiple cars.
While GLR has been buying cars for about three years now, arriving at its efficient model has been a gradual process of experimentation. “During that first year, it seemed like we tried something different every month, searching for our niche that we could hang our hat on,” says Sonne. “Keeping certain parts in, taking certain parts out, the machines we used to process, how we bought the vehicles—everything was evolving on a daily basis. We were self-taught throughout this entire journey, which is what makes it so great.”
Now, the company is realizing the success of the journey. The new Battle Creek site opens GLR up to larger markets, where it can gain customers from surrounding cities such as Jackson, Lansing and Kalamazoo.
“We have big plans,” says Bassirpour of the future.