Brose also had to resist pressures from automakers that wanted to bring the hands-free liftgate to market quickly, before it was flawless.
In addition to working just right, Brose's product was lightweight and used little energy. And because it used standard proximity sensors and could be installed on any vehicle that had a keyless entry system and an electronic latch release, it was simple and inexpensive.
It debuted in 2011 on the BMW 5 series and soon had an order rate of 40 percent — proof that customers immediately understood the benefit of being able to open the liftgate when their arms were full. It rapidly spread to vehicles in numerous other automakers' lineups.