Gentex Corporation to Expand Manufacturing in West Michigan

Contact: Susan Shafer (517) 335-6397

November 19, 2002

Governor John Engler today announced that assistance from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) has helped convince Gentex Corporation to expand its manufacturing operations in the Zeeland area, securing up to 1,499 jobs for Michigan workers.

A global manufacturer of automotive and fire protection products, Gentex plans to invest up to $97 million over the next five years in the purchase of manufacturing equipment, land and construction of a new, 225,000 square foot facility. The facility will allow Gentex to expand its operations for the manufacture of automatic-dimming mirror systems for the automotive industry.

"Gentex is one of West Michigan’s most outstanding corporate citizens and employers," Engler said. "This significant expansion in Michigan will extend Gentex’s growth potential and bring new employment opportunities to hundreds of families."

Gentex had weighed whether to expand in the Zeeland area or in a Georgia location closer to many of the company’s southern customers. The MEDC today awarded Gentex a Single Business Tax credit worth up to $9.2 million (in 2002 dollars) over a 20-year period and Economic Development Job Training grants worth up to $625,000 to encourage the company’s decision to grow in Michigan.

The state will also provide the local community with a Community Development Block Grant worth between $1.1 million and $1.3 million, depending on the final site location. The grant will be used for site preparation and/or other infrastructure improvements needed to support the new facility.

"We are pleased with the state of Michigan’s support for a new Gentex automotive mirror manufacturing facility," said Gentex Executive Vice President Garth Deur. "The new, highly automated facility will be instrumental in supporting the company’s growth over the next five years, benefiting our customers, the local community, the state, and current and future employees."

According to an economic analysis conducted by the University of Michigan, it is estimated that Gentex’s expansion will create a total of up to 1,499 jobs in the state, including 625 directly by the company. The company’s operations will result in total net state revenue increases of more than $86 million during the life of the tax credit.

Founded in 1974, Gentex Corporation is an international company that provides high-quality electronic products to the worldwide automotive industry and North American fire protection market. The company is the world leader in the development, manufacture and marketing of interior and exterior auto-dimming Night Vision Safety™ automotive rearview mirrors that dim in proportion to the amount of headlight glare from trailing vehicle headlamps. Gentex supplies its auto-dimming mirrors to nearly every major vehicle manufacturer in the world.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a partnership between the state and local communities, promotes smart economic growth by developing strategies and providing services to create and retain good jobs and a high quality of life. For more information on the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s initiatives and programs, visit the Web site at

Gentex Corporation
Economic Analysis
Summary Estimates
(All estimates in 2002 dollars)


Direct 625

Indirect 824


Revenue Foregone $ 9,240,000

Revenue Gain $ 95,860,000

Average Wage $ 550/week

Personal Income Generated Over Life of the Tax Credit Agreement $ 1,198,258,000