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Dana keeping up with demand

The flurry of new and updated vehicle designs hitting the market hasn’t put a wrench in Dana’s local operation.

“We generally partner with automakers fairly early in the design process,” said Jeff Cole, spokesman for Dana Holding Corp. Those conversations happen three or four years before a product reaches the market, he said.

Several other auto parts suppliers in the region didn’t return messages seeking comment or said their operations were too far down on the supply chain to be affected by automakers’ burst of design creativity.

Dana, a Maumee, Ohio-based auto supplier builds axles in Fort Wayne, where it employs about 475. The local factory primarily makes axles used in Jeep Wranglers and Ford Econoline vans.

Dana has taken what Cole described as “a judicious approach” to expansion as vehicle demand has picked up. The company’s preliminary financial reports indicate it spent about $160 million in capital projects last year. Its investment in the Fort Wayne operation since 2009 has been about $15 million, including updated equipment.

sslater@jg.net

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