Dana Corp. would consolidate manufacturing of its off-highway transmissions and axles, resulting in the closing of a plant and the elimination of 300 jobs, less than 1% of its work force, Reuters reported.

"The decision to consolidate manufacturing was necessary to strengthen the competitiveness of this business long term," Nick Cole, president of Dana's Heavy Vehicle Technologies and Systems Group, said in a statement cited by the news agency.

The company's facility in Statesville, North Carolina will be closed and jobs will also be cut in Brugge, Belgium, resulting in an after-tax charge of about $US25 million, of which $22 million will be recorded in the fourth quarter of 2004, the report said, noting that Dana and other auto suppliers have been hurt by North American light vehicle production cuts and raw materials price increases.

Reuters said the move will result in the realignment of machining and assembly operations in North America and Europe, with the consolidation and related transfer of production assets expected to be completed by December 2005, while production in North Carolina is scheduled to end in September.