Dana Inc. will be the exclusive provider of disconnecting all-wheel-drive units for the 2019 Ford Edge crossover, a new feature designed to improve fuel efficiency, Dana CEO James Kamsickas said Monday in a conference call detailing the supplier’s third-quarter earnings.
The system, branded as Spicer SmartConnect, typically allows the drivetrain to work in front-drive mode. It saves fuel by engaging awd only when needed — when the system’s sensors predict or detect slipping at the wheels, such as during rapid acceleration, or in icy and other low-traction conditions.
Without disclosing the supplier, Ford Motor Co. said separately last month that the new feature is the company's first use of disconnecting awd. It will be on all all-wheel-drive models of the 2019 Ford Edge sold worldwide. That’s expected to be about 50 percent of the model mix, a Ford spokesman said.
Sales, profits up
Dana's third quarter sales rose 8 percent to $1.98 billion. Net income was $95 million, an increase of 38 percent. Acquisitions boosted quarterly results vs. a year ago, as well as new business contracts, Kamsickas said.
Dana in June bought a majority stake in Canada’s TM4 Inc. for $127 million. TM4 makes electric motors, power inverters, and control systems for light vehicles, commercial vehicles and other uses. The deal includes a 50 percent stake in a joint venture in China.
Dana also said it expects to close a $600 million deal to acquire Oerlikon Drive Systems of Switzerland in the first quarter of 2019. Oerlikon Drive Systems also makes components for electrified vehicles, and for off-highway uses.
Light, heavy and off-road
Dana’s product segments are light vehicles, commercial vehicles, off-highway including construction equipment, and power technologies.
Light vehicle is Dana’s biggest category, representing 44 percent of sales in the third quarter, followed by off-highway, at 22 percent. Commercial vehicles accounted for 21 percent. Within the light-vehicle category, Dana’s business is mostly light trucks as opposed to cars.
Dana ranks No. 36 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers, with worldwide sales to automakers of $7.2 billion in 2017.