Video Rearview Mirror Shines

January 13, 2006
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HOLLAND — Magna Donnelly’s new VideoMirror is meant to make cars safer, and it is not going unnoticed.

The new product, unveiled last week at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, has been honored as a 2006 Technology is a Girl’s Best Friend Diamond Product Showcase in the mobile/automotive category. VideoMirror was chosen after the Consumers Electronics Association conducted a “What Women Want” survey to determine what features influence women, who influence 88 percent of household purchases, according to the association.

VideoMirror is a 3.5-inch color video display that slides out from the side of a car’s rearview mirror when the driver puts the vehicle in reverse. The image on the screen comes from a universal rear-mounted camera.

“Because it’s a slide out, it prevents glare, and gives a pretty clear picture of what’s behind the driver,” said Tracy Fuerst, Magna Donnelly director of corporate communications.

Fuerst said the product has been a few years in the making and is very competitive technology. It is cost effective at $500 to $600, compared to up to $2,000 for other rearview mirror technologies, she said.

“Anytime you have a technology that’s as competitive as this, it puts us in a very good position in the electronic side of the business, which is a trend these days,” she said.

VideoMirror is aimed to reduce “back-over incidents” — when a child or animal may be injured or killed because they were not seen by the driver, when backing up the vehicle.

Fuerst said the company is in discussions with original equipment manufacturers, and though the product is not yet on any vehicle models, it will be available this year.

Beverly Snyder, Magna Donnelly communications manager, said the product will be manufactured in Holland

“We’ll be able to absorb that product in Holland with our existing facility and with our existing employees,” she said.

Snyder said the company is proud to be honored with the “TechGirl” award.

“Women influence a lot of purchases, and to be identified as a product that women love is good for us,” she said. “That could be a real decision-making factor when a family or an individual wants to buy a car. It’s very easy and intuitive to use and it adds an extra level of safety.”    

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