SIC 3647

This category includes establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing vehicular lighting equipment. Establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing sealed-beam lamps are classified in SIC 3641: Electric Light Bulbs and Tubes.

NAICS Code(s)

336321 (Vehicular Lighting Equipment Manufacturing)

The world has come a long way since the first driver of a horseless carriage attached two kerosene lamps to his vehicle to light his way at night. Aftermarket electric lighting systems were available for vehicles as early as the turn of the nineteenth century, and acetylene headlamps started appearing on cars around 1905. It was not until 1912 that Cadillac featured electric lights as standard equipment on its cars. Lights for airplanes were also an afterthought, first appearing some years after the Wright Brothers flew their aircraft at Kitty Hawk. Vehicular lighting is now standard equipment on aircraft, automobiles, boats, bikes, motorcycles, and locomotives, and it is even used on roller skates and baby buggies. Vehicular lights flash, flicker, and give signals; their messages have become an integral part of our daily lives.

Companies that manufacture vehicular lighting equipment generally do so for a wide range of vehicles, including automobiles, airplanes, trains, boats, bicycles, motorcycles, and amusement rides. Also, companies frequently work together on the same lighting project, often on a contractor-subcontractor basis. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the vehicular lighting equipment industry shipped goods valued at $3.00 billion in 2000, compared to $3.31 billion in 1999. The total number of industry employees declined from 17,233 in 1999 to 15,055 in 2000.

In 1999 the two leading companies in the vehicular lighting equipment industry were North American Lighting Inc. and Peterson Manufacturing Company. North American Lighting's sales were $293 million in 1999 and it had 1,900 employees. Peterson—a leading manufacturer of vehicle lights, reflectors, and mirrors for the automotive and trucking industry—had sales of about $137 million and employed 2,300 people. Another industry leader, Truck-Lite Company, Inc., of Falconer, New York, had sales of more than $100 million.

Through the middle of the 1990s, the United States was expected to import more automotive parts and accessories, including vehicular lighting equipment, than it exports. This trade imbalance was due chiefly to increased shipments from Japan. Overall, however, U.S. parts exports were expected to increase slowly. Some U.S. companies were looking to Mexico for increased export business, mainly because of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Others, including Allied-Signal and Federal-Mogul Corp., were exploring joint ventures with foreign manufacturers and acquiring overseas manufacturing facilities. Foreign investment in the U.S. parts industry was also expected to grow slowly.

Industry leaders were looking to electronic data transfer to decrease production time and innovations such as Truck-Lite's electronic cooling system that would allow the industry to stay technologically current into the twenty-first century.

Further Reading

"Hoover's Company Capsules." Hoover's Online: The Business Network, 1999. Available from .

"Innovative Cooling Water Management." The Protector, 1999. Available from .

"North American Lighting Selects e-Parcel for CAD Data Delivery." The Auto Channel, 1999. Available from .

United States Census Bureau. 1995 Annual Survey of Manufactures. Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1997.

United States Census Bureau. "Statistics for Industries and Industry Groups: 2000." Annual Survey of Manufacturers. February 2002. Available from .

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