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Dana adds three products to Chinese automotive market

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Dana's multi-layer steel cylinder head gaskets.
Dana's multi-layer steel cylinder head gaskets.

WUXI, China—Dana Holding Corp. has begun production of three additional products for the Chinese market at its manufacturing facility in Wuxi.

The firm added its Victor Reinz multi-layer steel cylinder head gaskets, exhaust gaskets and transmission valve body separator plates primarily for light vehicle production to Wuxi's existing production of thermal products. The facility already produces engine oil coolers, oil to air transmission coolers, thermal bypass valves, transmission oil coolers and heat shields.

Dana is adding jobs and new equipment to support the added production, bringing employment at Wuxi to 180. The plant can produce 2.6 million cylinder head gaskets annually.

Financial details of the expanded production, or the cost to produce the new products, were not disclosed. But Robert Postma, the power technologies group's Asia-Pacific director, said the products are in line with what other companies are providing.

Wuxi won't undergo a physical expansion at this time, but Postma said an additional area within the industrial park is available to add space if demand is strong.

“The automotive industry is currently changing quite a lot,” Postma said. “What we wanted to do is provide the products for this area that meets the customer's needs. There is a lot of growth in the China market, and Dana wanted to position ourselves to provide products for our customers in China.”

Postma said Dana has five manufacturing facilities in China, but the other four serve the firm's driveline products division. Wuxi is the firm's only plant for the power technologies group.

China is the No. 1 country in terms of light vehicle and overall vehicle sales, according to Postma. He said the country is at 20 million in total vehicle production, with 18 million of that in light vehicle. Compared to the U.S. at 16 million total vehicles and Western Europe at about 13 million, Postma said the firm cannot afford to ignore the region.

“Our customers want local production and local support,” Postma said. “We found that trying to support this kind of product with its complexities and its innate technologies out of North America and Europe for China became more and more difficult.”

Dana said its cylinder head gasket designs consist of multiple layers of stainless steel, coated with its proprietary elastomeric material, sealing against cylinder head and block surfaces.

The firm's exhaust gaskets are designed to fit a wide variety of advanced hardware conditions and enable emission reduction and high temperature performance, Dana said.

Dana's transmission valve body separator plates allow for smaller valve bodies through the reduction of fasteners that can interfere with desired flow paths, the firm said.

Dana is a global manufacturer of engineered driveline, sealing and thermal management technologies for the passenger vehicle, commercial truck and off highway markets. The firm employs 23,000 in 26 countries with about 100 engineering, manufacturing and distribution facilities worldwide. It reported sales of $6.8 billion for 2013.