Gentex Begins Shipping Its SmartBeam(R) Feature for Seven Additional Audi Models

ZEELAND, MI--(Marketwire - July 26, 2010) - Gentex Corporation, the automotive industry's leading supplier of automatic-dimming rearview mirrors and camera-based active-safety systems, announced today that its SmartBeam® high-beam assist system is now available on seven additional Audi vehicle models. The new models currently offering SmartBeam as an option in Europe are the A1, A3, A6, A8, Q5, R8 and TT. Audi now offers 13 models with the Gentex high-beam assist system. 

SmartBeam uses a miniature camera-on-a-chip combined with algorithmic decision-making to automatically operate a vehicle's high beams in order to optimize their usage according to surrounding traffic conditions. The system maximizes forward lighting while eliminating the repetitive task of turning the high beams on and off manually.

SmartBeam is integrated into a Gentex auto-dimming mirror, which automatically darkens to eliminate glare from the headlamps of vehicles approaching from the rear.

"Gentex's SmartBeam was designed to optimize high-beam usage on any type of vehicle with any type of headlamp system including halogen, bi-xenon, and even the Audi A8's extremely sophisticated full LED (light-emitting diode) headlamp system," said Enoch Jen, Gentex Senior Vice President.

The value of improved forward lighting is well documented. Studies in the U.S. and Europe suggest that drivers significantly underutilize their high beams. Whether it's out of fear of blinding other drivers, annoyance at constantly turning them on and off, or just plain forgetfulness, studies show that drivers often don't use their high beams even when conditions would justify their use. SmartBeam optimizes forward visibility by automating high-beam usage, which allows drivers to better identify and react to potential hazards in the road ahead.

Gentex has shipped more than 1.5 million SmartBeam units since the feature debuted in the U.S. in the 2005 model year. Last year alone, the Company shipped approximately 437,000 SmartBeam units compared with approximately 295,000 units in 2008. Gentex expects SmartBeam unit shipments to increase by approximately 30-40 percent in calendar year 2010 compared with 2009.

Founded in 1974, Gentex Corporation (NASDAQ: GNTX) is an international company that provides high-quality products to the worldwide automotive industry and North American fire protection market. Based in Zeeland, Michigan, the Company develops, manufactures and markets interior and exterior automatic-dimming automotive rearview mirrors that utilize proprietary electrochromic technology to dim in proportion to the amount of headlamp glare from trailing vehicle headlamps. More than half of the Company's interior mirrors are sold with advanced electronic features, and more than 97 percent of the Company's revenues are derived from the sale of auto-dimming mirrors to nearly every major automaker in the world.

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Connie Hamblin