Dana says it has broke ground on a new 7,500 sqm (80,000 sq ft) manufacturing and assembly facility in Chongqing, China, that will produce advanced driveline products for the Chinese market. 

Scheduled to open in late 2018, the facility will produce final drive units featuring integrated Spicer SmartConnect disconnecting all-wheel-drive (AWD) systems. This technology improves the fuel efficiency of SUVs, crossovers, and passenger vehicles.

Dana is investing approximately US$23m (CNY160m) on the new operation, which will employ approximately 130 associates when full production is reached in 2020.

The plant is located in the Yufu Industrial Development Zone, where it is receiving substantial financial incentives, site development, and other support from the Chongqing Liangjiang New Area Administrative Committee. It will be Dana’s 15th facility in China and its first in Chongqing.

“Dana is excited to be bringing our latest all-wheel-drive technology to China while expanding our footprint into Chongqing for the first time. This reflects our ongoing strategic commitment to the China market,” said Bob Pyle, president of Dana Light Vehicle Driveline Technologies. “We are building this advanced facility in Chongqing to take advantage of the skilled local workforce, an established network of proven suppliers, and highly efficient transportation channels – all backed by the visionary support from local government entities.”

Advanced Technology to Improve Fuel Efficiency

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By GlobalData

Currently in pre-production testing, Spicer SmartConnect technology helps global vehicle manufacturers address evolving emissions regulations while maintaining the safety and control that are key advantages for AWD vehicles.

The Spicer SmartConnect system configures the drivetrain to work in fuel-efficient front-wheel-drive mode for the vast majority of driving conditions. It automatically and seamlessly converts to AWD when it detects slipping at the wheel, such as during rapid acceleration or in icy and other low-traction conditions.

The introduction of disconnecting AWD technology in China illustrates how Dana is addressing its enterprise strategy – titled “Shifting into Overdrive” – across multiple dimensions, it says. The Spicer SmartConnect system helps to expand global markets by driving disproportionate growth in the rapidly changing Asia-Pacific region while commercialising new technologies that address customer and market needs.

It also demonstrates how Dana supports the modernisation strategies behind the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology’s “Made in China 2025” initiative, as well as the 13th Five-Year Plan.

“Evolving concepts of vehicle ownership and operation are quickly changing the nature of mobility and generating high demand for innovations,” said Antonio Valencia, president of Dana China. “The Spicer SmartConnect system is the latest in a series of advanced technologies from Dana that help manufacturers address current market trends while anticipating the ongoing transformation of the vehicle industry.”

The Spicer SmartConnect used in this program will be tested and validated at Dana’s technical centre in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province. Fully integrated into Dana’s global research and development system, the Dana China Technical Centre has been equipped to support new products from concept development through launch.

Inaugurated in 2013, this facility has more than 50 engineers who facilitate the delivery of new product offerings for China and the rest of the region and adapt technologies developed elsewhere in the world for the specific needs of the China market.

Dana currently has approximately 6,000 employees in China, including those working for operations in which Dana holds a half interest.