Emerging US supplier Microheat feels it's on the road to prosperity after inventing a heated wiper fluid system. Microheat has won contracts from German supplier Webasto and General Motors for its HotShot system.
The device heats windshield-washer fluid and controls the wipers to quickly remove ice, frost, oil, dead bugs and bird droppings.
The system, triggered by a button pushed by the driver, also prevents other hazards such as ice accumulation on wiper blades.
Hotshot will be on two new US models, the 2006 Buick LeSabre and Cadillac DTS. The DTS goes into production next May and the LeSabre in August.
Webasto distributes HotShot through its global replacement-parts network, which accounts for much of this year's revenue.
HotShot was invented by an Israeli, Solomon Franco, who couldn't believe there wasn't such a device as he scraped an icy windshield while attending law school in England.
Co-founder Slava Evanov, also the company's chief technology officer, is a former Russian Space Agency scientist.
CEO Gary Pilibosian says Microheat is close to deals with other automakers.
Pilibosian is confident that HotShot will be a money generator because of the lack of competition.
"This is a proprietary product where we can control the growth," Pilibosian said.
Microheat was founded in 1998. The 11-station production cell at the company's headquarters in Farmington Hills, near Detroit, USA can pump out 2,000 to 2,500 devices a week.
The manufacturing system is easily reproduced and can be sited anywhere in the world.
GM is considering HotShot for other, higher-volume models and as an aftermarket product.
In five years, Pilibosian sees HotShot as standard equipment on cars globally and he expects Microheat to have new products.