Reflecting a Trend Throughout North America, parts maker Dana Corp. intends to tighten its belt in the U.S., grow its operations in emerging markets and diversify its customer base away from a struggling Detroit Three.

Dana CEO Gary Convis says a new production philosophy and physical process changes at his company's U.S. plants are delivering “tangible” and “extremely positive” results six months after the supplier's emergence from bankruptcy.

Dana's Chapter 11 reorganization included a landmark labor agreement with United Auto Workers union, which slashed labor costs and shuttered unprofitable U.S. facilities.

“Dana's footprint currently encompasses 100 operations in 26 countries, and we're expanding our footholds in China, India, (the) Mercosur countries (Brazil and Argentina) and elsewhere,” Convis says.

“We're actively looking to expand to support the emerging needs in Russia, which will soon eclipse Germany as the leading European auto market.”

But the story at home reads much differently. High pump prices and an ailing economy have contributed to plunging vehicle sales and declining demand for Dana's North American automotive business.

In addition to adding the title of CEO in April, Convis has sought to implement the fundamentals of Toyota Motor Corp.'s vaunted production system, which he learned over 20 years with the Japanese auto maker.