GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — It would be tough to find a new vehicle on the floor of the Michigan International Auto Show that doesn’t have a Michigan-made component.
Along with the shiny new models on the show floor is a wall featuring the latest in dimmable rearview mirrors, technology developed in Zeeland.
“We created that category of product. It’s now on 350, 400 different vehicles around the world,” Craig Piersma, vice president of marketing and communications for Gentex, said. “We ship 40 million dimmable devices around the world every year.”
Gentex is among the local companies using the Michigan International Auto Show at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids to show off some hometown pride. It is displaying things that you see on the car, like mirrors, door handles and tire rims; and things you generally don’t, like exhaust systems or chassis components.
“We have so much supplier content here. It’s staggering. And I don’t think people realize that,” Piersma said.
This year’s show gives West Michigan suppliers, large and small, a chance to let consumers know their role in the auto industry and give employees a source of pride.
Gentex is hoping it will also helping deal with another shortage: people. Ottawa County’s largest employer announced Wednesday it is opening a new plant in the heart of Grand Rapids’ Madison Square neighborhood this spring. Its auto show display is also a way to show potential employees what they’re all about.
“It’s so cool to be in our own backyard, showing off what we do to friends, neighbors; kind of introducing ourselves to a new group of people,” Piersma said. “But then our employees can come here and show off and say, ‘Hey, this is what we do.’”