More MBS Coverage TRAVERSE CITY, MI – Crying over spilled milk may be pointless, but a toppled Coke is another matter at Dura Automotive Systems Inc.

Crumbs and liquids tend to migrate toward shifters. Pictured is '06 Lincoln Mark LT.

Tim Stephens, vice president of the company's North American shifter systems and cable operations, says here at the Management Briefing Seminars that each new shifter the supplier designs has to survive a “Coke spill” test.

Because shifters usually are located in prime real estate next to the driver and passenger, liquids and food crumbs inevitably “migrate” to the shifter, he says.

If mechanisms are not properly steeled against such assaults, it can result in big headaches for auto makers and vehicle owners alike.

dwinter@primediabusiness.com