Bellwether company Gentex signals strong Q3 for suppliers

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With the Full Display Mirror, the driver can switch the interior rear-view mirror from ordinary mirror mode to a display of a high-mounted, rear-facing camera on the outside of the car.

Turnover and profit increased for mirror and electronics supplier Gentex Corp. in the third quarter, despite new international rates and despite softer than expected new vehicle production.

Gentex, often seen as a supplier of car manufacturers, released its results on Friday and performance could be a positive signal for global suppliers as a result of the quarterly gains in the coming weeks.

"Our launches were very strong in Q3," said Neil Boehm, chief technical officer of the company, during a conference call. "That's a good indication of how your company will look like in the coming years."

Sales were $ 460.3 million in the third quarter, an increase of 5 percent from a year ago. The net result increased by 23 percent to $ 111.3 million.

Gentex shares won 7 percent on Friday and closed $ 19.93.

Headwind on primary markets

The profit came even though the production of light vehicles in the primary markets of Gentex in Europe, North America, Japan and Korea combined in the third quarter decreased by about 3 percent, and about 5 percent below a previous prediction of IHS Markit, says Gentex.

Although some new rates were not in force for the entire period, Gentex, based in Michigan, also reported that taxes were cutting in gross margins in the third quarter. For the fourth quarter, Gentex estimated that the full effect of recently set tariffs between the United States and China would increase costs by $ 2.5 million- $ 3 million. Including all other recently set rates, the total cost would be $ 5.5 million- $ 6 million in the fourth quarter, the company said.

CEO Steve Downing said that without the extra rates the gross margins would have increased in the third quarter compared to a year ago.

Product wins

Boehm announced during the conference call that Gentex's Full Display Mirror would be offered on the Cadillac XT4, the Subaru Forester and the Lexus ES – the latter two only for the Japanese market. In August Gentex announced that Full Display Mirror would be offered on the GMC Sierra, the Chevrolet Camaro and the Toyota Crown (Japan only).

The mirror was taken into production at the end of 2015. The company expects to sell more than 500,000 copies in 2019. In addition to GM and Toyota, car manufacturers also include Nissan, Jaguar Land Rover and Subaru. By the end of 2018, the company expects to have eight car manufacturers.

With the Full Display Mirror, the driver can switch the interior rear-view mirror from ordinary mirror mode to a display of a high-mounted, rear-facing camera on the outside of the car. As a result, cargo, rear passengers or other objects in the vehicle that block the rear view of the driver disappear.

Gentex is number 91 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers with worldwide sales to car manufacturers of $ 1.76 billion during fiscal year 2017.