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Rear-view Mirrors will Serve as Communications Devices, Thanks to Johnson Controls

5 January 1998

Rear-view Mirrors will Serve as Communications Devices, Thanks to Advanced Technology from Johnson Controls, HighwayMaster

     New Product - First of Its Kind for Automotive Aftermarket - Is Used
               to Request Help, Access Messages, Get Directions

    PLYMOUTH, Mich., Jan. 4 -- Rear-view mirrors are about to go
"high-tech," thanks to a new product developed jointly by Johnson Controls
and HighwayMaster Corporation .  Engineers at the
companies have created an innovative product for the automotive aftermarket --
an electronically enhanced rear-view mirror that can be used to summon
roadside assistance, get directions, receive messages and more.
    Johnson Controls -- the world's largest supplier of automotive seating and
interior systems -- is exhibiting prototypes of the unique mirror at the 1998
North American International Auto Show in Detroit.  By next September,
consumers will be able to purchase the high-tech mirror systems -- which
include trunk-mounted electronic control units -- at retail cellular
communications stores.
    The mirrors feature Johnson Controls' patented AutoLink(R) intelligent
communications technology.  AutoLink-based devices link vehicles to a
24-hour-per-day, national network that can provide roadside help, emergency
response, Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation support, theft
notification, vehicle diagnostics, remote "unlocking" help, Internet access,
and interactive messaging and information services.  Vehicle drivers or
passengers will activate the availablecommunications functions by using voice
commands or by pushing buttons on the face of the mirror.  The mirrors also
offer a compass and outside temperature "read-out" display.
    HighwayMaster, based in Dallas, Texas, is providing  the extensive,
private wireless network for AutoLink products, as well as advanced switching
services, throughout the United States and Canada.  The company -- a leader in
network communications systems and technologies -- currently operates the
world's largest, private, enhanced-cellular network.
    Gentex Corporation , a leading automotive mirror supplier
based in Zeeland, Michigan, will manufacture the mirrors.  The company is
integrating the AutoLink technology into a special version of its Night Vision
Safety(TM) automatic-dimming mirror.
    "The AutoLink-based mirror is the first system of its kind for the
aftermarket," said Michael Suman, vice president of advanced sales, marketing
and product development for Prince, a wholly owned subsidiary of Johnson
Controls.  "It's destined to have strong market appeal, because it offers
valuable functions and addresses convenience and security needs that are very
important to consumers."
    Last year, Prince and HighwayMaster launched development of AutoLink,
initially with products that could be featured as optional equipment on new
vehicles. Automakers now can include the technology as part of an integrated,
compact overhead display developed by Prince.  In future new-vehicle
applications, AutoLink could be  integrated into the rear-view mirror.
    The AutoLink technology has advantages over competing systems -- in its
array of functions; broad geographic coverage area that includes the United
States and Canada; affordable price; and low operating costs.  It also offers
enhanced fraud protection, as all calls are routed through an AutoLink
communications center and must pass security checks.
    "We expect AutoLink products to achieve significant market penetration for
both original equipment and aftermarket applications," said Bill Saunders,
president and chief executive officer for HighwayMaster.  "Integrating
AutoLink into the rear-view mirror is an excellent strategy because it's a
user-friendly location and every vehicle on the road today has a rear-view
    A firm, suggested retail price for the AutoLink-based mirror system has
not yet been established.  The buyer would be required to purchase the mirror
system hardware, and pay a monthly network service fee.  According to Johnson
Controls officials, the actual price of the mirror system may be established
at approximately $750 -- but would vary with the terms of the buyer's network
contract agreement.
    HighwayMaster develops and operates intelligent wireless private network
solutions for a number of applications, including the long-haul trucking and
automotive industries.
    Johnson Controls, Inc., with headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is a
global market leader in automotive systems and building controls.  Through its
Automotive System Group, it designs and produces seating and interior systems
for automakers worldwide, and batteries for the original equipment and
replacement markets.  The Controls Group serves the non-residential buildings
market with controls systems and services, and integrated facility management.
Founded in 1885, Johnson Controls operates in more than 500 locations around
the world.  Johnson Controls securities are listed on the New York Stock
Exchange (NYSE) with the trading symbol "JCI."
    The Plymouth, Michigan-based Automotive Systems Group of Johnson Controls
is the world's largest supplier of vehicle seating and interior systems, and
is a major supplier of batteries.  In 1997, the company's worldwide operations
supplied products for more than 20 million vehicles.  The Automotive Systems
Group employs more than 45,000 people at 157 facilities worldwide and achieved
$8 billion in sales for the 1997 fiscal year. During the same period, Johnson
Controls, Inc. (all divisions) recorded sales of $11.1 billion.Prince -- a
wholly owned subsidiary of Johnson Controls  located in Holland, Michigan --
is a leading provider of automotive interior systems and electronics.
    For further information about AutoLink products and technologies, visit
the AutoLink site on the World Wide Web at
    For access to other Johnson Controls news releases and additional company
information, visit the company's site on the World Wide Web at
    Photographs and captions to accompany this story is available from Wieck
Photo Database by calling 972-392-0888, or on the World Wide Web at
    CONTACT:  Jeff Steiner of Johnson Controls, 734-254-5932
    Company News On-Call: or fax, 800-758-5804,
ext. 473547

SOURCE  Johnson Controls