Dana has announced that the company will build a new 7,500 square-metre (80,000 square-foot) manufacturing facility in Chongqing, China.

Scheduled to open in late 2018, the plant will produce drive units with integrated Spicer SmartConnect disconnecting all-wheel-drive (AWD) technology as part of a global program for a major automaker. Dana’s Spicer SmartConnect technology improves the fuel efficiency of SUVs, crossovers, and passenger vehicles. 

Dana will invest approximately US$13m (CNY160m) to build out the new operation, which will employ approximately 130 highly qualified associates when full production is reached in 2020. This will be Dana’s 15th facility in China and its first in Chongqing.

The plant will be located at the Yufu Industrial Development Zone, where Dana will host a ceremony to break ground in conjunction with The 8th Global Automotive Forum in June.

“We at Dana are excited to bring our latest disconnecting all-wheel-drive technology to the world’s largest automotive market,” said Bob Pyle, president of Dana Light Vehicle Driveline Technologies. “This technology is particularly appropriate for China as it addresses the drivability requirements of the sophisticated Chinese consumer and helps meet the fuel efficiency and sustainability requirements of both global and local OEMs operating in China.” 

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. It automatically and seamlessly converts to AWD when it detects slipping at the wheel, such as during rapid acceleration or in slippery conditions.

The introduction of disconnecting AWD technology in China illustrates how Dana is addressing its enterprise strategy – titled “Shifting into Overdrive” – across multiple dimensions. 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.

“Dana has served the rapidly growing Chinese automobile market for more than 25 years, and our expansion into Chongqing highlights Dana’s continued commitment to supporting vehicle manufacturers with technologies that deliver superior performance and fuel savings,” said Antonio Valencia, president of Dana China. “This technology 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.”

The Spicer SmartConnect system was 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 7,000 employees in China, including those working for operations in which Dana holds a half interest.