Dana Corp. is driving with the aggressiveness of a top-notch NASCAR driver toward becoming a complete systems supplier in many of its core product areas. The Toledo, OH-based company also is getting closer to its goal of attaining 50% of its sales from outside the United States.

Aiming to supply complete engine sealing systems, Dana buys the Paris, TN-based Plumley Companies Inc., which makes molded rubber and silicone gaskets, fuel hoses and other items, for an undisclosed number of shares of Dana stock.

"The Plumley acquisition will make a positive contribution to Dana's 1995 earnings per share," says Dana Chairman & CEO Southwood J. Morcott. "This alliance conforms with the strategic and philosphical focus of both companies."

Mr. Morcott says Dana's global growth strategy calls for the company to expand its technology and market leadership in its core product areas worldwide. "Plumley represents a major step toward fulfilling that strategy in sealing products," he adds.

Dana purchased the Reinz group of companies in 1993 and combined it with its Victor Products Div., which improved its sealing-materials technology including saturated products, graphite and multi-layered steel applications. Plumley adds expertise in molded rubber and silicone, as well as the corresponding manufacturing resources and engineering know-how.

"Plumley's mold-in-place rubber and silicone gasket technology immediately expands Dana's sealing products technology and components for both the OE and distribution efforts of our Victor Reinz, Boston and Weatherhead Brake Products Divisions," says Charles J. McNamara, president of the Victor Reinz Sealing Products Group.

Besides 10 manufacturing and assembly facilities in the U.S., Plumley has distribution and R&D facilities at its Paris headquarters and a sales office in Troy, MI.

Dana's Spicer Mexico joint venture with UNIK strengthened its position in the Mexican transmission market by acquiring Mexican manual gearbox maker Tremec.

With Tremec, Spicer Mexico becomes the only company in North America with the capability of delivering a complete range of manual transmissions from passenger cars to Class 8 trucks.

As an outgrowth of the acquisition, the two U.S. companies representing Spicer Mexico and Tremec - DSA of America Inc. and Tremec Trading Co. - are being consolidated under the DSA of America Inc. name. Dana owns 51% of the new company and UNIK has a 49% share.

Following the industry trend of globalization, Dana increases its equity in ROC Spicer Ltd. in Taiwan to 50.5%.

An affiliate of Dana since 1973, ROC Spicer claims to be the island nation's largest independent light-duty axle, driveshaft and constant velosity (CV) joint manufacturer. The company also makes molded-rubber products, including oil seals for light vehicles and CV joint boots for front-drive vehicles.

"This move brings Dana closer to its goal of 50% of sales from outside the United States by the year 2000," says Jack Simpson, president of Dana's Asia/Pacific Operations. "Taiwan's economy has enjoyed dynamic growth, and this underscores Dana's confidence in the Asia-Pacific region and specifically in Taiwan."

Underscoring the corporation's drive toward supplying complete systems, Dana's Spicer Universal Joint Div. has changed its name to the Spicer Driveshaft Div. Along with the new name comes a new president, Wayne Myers.

As if all of these business activities aren't enough to test Dana's mettle, the corporation is putting several of its products to the ultimate test - on the race track. As a contingency sponsor for the new NASCAR Super Truck series, Dana is supplying several teams with products, including Victor Reinz gaskets and others. In fact, the first- and second-place finishers in the series' premier race in Arizona (see Auto Talk, p.31) were equipped with specially balanced Spicer drivelines.