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Published: Thursday, 11/3/2005

Local firm makes list of Ford top suppliers

Dana Corp. will be one of Ford Motor Co. s favored parts makers as the automaker works to cut costs by slashing its supplier base in half.

The Toledo company was identified by Ford yesterday as a key supplier, but unknown is how much of its business with Ford will be preserved or how much that business could grow.

Neither company would comment on which parts Dana currently sells to Ford will be among 20 key components the Detroit automaker plans to buy solely from its strategic suppliers, who will be awarded larger contracts over longer terms as part of the distinction.

All of Dana s core parts can be found on Ford products, including axles, driveshafts, and structures, spokesman Todd Romain said.

Last year, Ford accounted for a quarter of Dana s business, or $2.3 billion in sales, and F-series pickups were the Toledo company s single biggest contract.

Ford s decision is good news for Dana. We re very pleased that Ford has selected Dana to join the Ford family of strategic suppliers, Mr. Romain said.

So far, Dana is one of a dozen suppliers worldwide named as Ford strategic partners. The local firm, which has been struggling financially, was not among the first group Ford identified a few weeks ago, raising concern among some on Wall Street.

Still, a supplier selling three parts, for example, may be tapped for only one, getting a significant increase in business for it, said Ford spokesman Paul Wood. More and more will be announced in the coming weeks and months, he said.

Ford currently has about 2,500 suppliers and buys $70 billion worth of vehicle parts annually.

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