Peterson Manufacturing Corporation is a 2nd-generation family-owned private company. Their primary work churns out a constellation of thoughtfully-designed, high-performing products centred around vehicle conspicuity—lamps, reflectors, and a broad array of supporting and accessory items—for commercial vehicles, trailers, and motorcycles. These are mainly supplied to OEMs including an impressive list of big names such as Harley-Davidson, Husqvarna, and Timpte Trailer. Through skillfully shepherded vertical integration and an insourcing-centred philosophy, Peterson themselves make most of their products, their products’ subcomponents, and their subcomponents’ tooling—the vast majority of it in the United States. The nine companies under the Peterson corporate umbrella, including a high-precision tooling company and an expert custom injection moulding outfit, not only support Peterson’s manufacturing activities, but also actively and successfully solicit outside business with the likes of GM, Volkswagen Group, and a wide variety of companies outside the automotive world.
The company started out in 1945, making a small range of inexpensive mobility accessories: tire pumps and add-on lights. Peterson was purchased in 1956 by the father of the present owner, and in the long run the company have been on an expansive upward trajectory ever since.
Most operations take place at the company’s homebase in in the U.S. state of Missouri, in Grandville near Kansas City. The company is almost completely vertically integrated, with nearly all subcomponents, tooling, and processes done in-house. An un-unionised but highly empowered and unusually loyal and tenacious workforce numbers over 850 employees
Peterson’s main product range includes universal-fit headlamps, signal lights, reversing lamps, combination lights, work lights, emergency and safety lights, and high-end wiring harnesses. The company’s range includes ECE- and ADR-approved versions of lamps built to US-standard sizes, facilitating the export of trailers and commercial vehicles from the American regulatory island out to the greater ECE world. Very intricate custom-fit products are supplied for Harley-Davidson motorcycles and other such applications. Universal products are updated and upgraded on a regular basis.
The company’s President, Don Armacost Jr., is a veritable “car guy” whose collection of over 80 stunning vintage and special-interest automobiles, spanning over a century’s production, are housed in an on-campus museum and seen to in an on-site fully-equipped restoration shop. He has surrounded himself with capable people who, in their drive to succeed, propel Peterson in the direction of consistent excellence.