Injection molder Donnelly Corp. is buying itself an electronics unit to help spark the sales of gadgets in its automotive mirrors.
The Holland, Mich.-based company announced Jan. 22 it will buy Donnelly Electronics Inc., which produces circuit boards and sensors already used in Donnelly's mirror programs.
Donnelly Corp. was an early investor in Donnelly Electronics and owned 18 percent of the Holly, Mich.-based company. Donnelly Electronics now will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of the larger business, said Scott Reed, president of the corporation's new electronic systems group.
The deal, for unspecified terms, is set to wrap up this month.
Donnelly Corp. uses sensors and circuit boards extensively for mirrors that automatically dim to reduce headlight glare, and systems that integrate navigation systems and sense exterior temperatures.
The company also uses Donnelly Electronics units in its new Smart Release program, designed to allow a child or adult trapped in a car trunk to open it from the inside.
"The amount of work [the electronics company] was doing with Donnelly was going to expand rapidly," Reed said.
The corporation has geared its future growth in value-added electronics systems. It also has stepped up its efforts to market products directly to consumers, setting up a display in January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The company won acclaim for its BabyVue product at the event. The system uses a small camera and screen attached to the interior mirror to allow drivers to keep an eye on back-seat passengers, without taking their eyes off the road. BabyVue even got a mention on a segment of Oprah Winfrey's talk show about high-tech breakthroughs.
Donnelly Electronics has 167 employees in Holly and another 50 at its operation in Longford, Ireland, which is less than 100 miles from Donnelly Corp.'s Irish production sites in Naas and Manor Hamilton.