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Published: 9/22/2011 - Updated: 2 years ago

GM truck to sport Dana axles

New small pickup will be built in Mo., UAW contract reveals

BY LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
The concept version of the Chevrolet Colorado Rally was revealed earlier this year. The concept version of the Chevrolet Colorado Rally was revealed earlier this year.
CHEVROLET / WIECK Enlarge

An upcoming worldwide mid-sized pickup truck on the way from General Motors Co. will be made in Missouri, the company's new contract with the United Auto Workers reveals.

But in a major departure from GM's recent truck history, the new small pickup will ride on axles from Maumee-based Dana Holding Corp. instead of those produced by GM's former subsidiary, American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc., Dana's main competitor.

Roger Wood, Dana's new president and chief executive officer, revealed the new light truck venture with GM in response to a question during a presentation to investors last week at the auto show in Frankfurt, Germany, saying the automaker's new small-truck platform would ride on Dana AdvanTEK front and rear-drive axles.

"We're actively seeking business from all the major customers in the world in terms of where our core competencies can provide them value," Mr. Wood said. "It's really about taking our portfolio of products that we feel add value to these guys, and we're offering it to them. And they awarded us that one program, and we continue to try to win more."

Mr. Wood did not indicate the size of the contract with GM, or its scope.

In the synopsis of its new contract with GM, the UAW said the automaker was considering an investment of $380 million to assemble the successor to its Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon small pickups at its factory in Wentzville, Mo., where it builds full-sized vans. GM revealed a concept version of the new small pickup in March in Thailand, indicating then that it planned to build the vehicle in overseas markets where smaller pickups are more popular than their larger counterparts.

Ford Motor Co. will end production of its Ranger small pickup this year, and Chrysler Group LLC built its last Ram Dakota in August, leaving the Colorado/Canyon and the Toyota Tacoma as the two main survivors in the category.

While GM has been a Dana customer for some time, the nation's largest domestic automaker represents only 3 percent of Dana's annual sales, compared with 19 percent from Ford. GM has not used Dana axles on its full-line pickups for several decades, though it has used them on specialty vehicles and some heavier-duty trucks. The current Colorado and Canyon do not have Dana axles.

Paul Lacy, an analyst with IHS automotive in suburban Detroit, said GM's new mid-sized pickup program is an important one for the automaker, even though the others are leaving that segment of the market. Dana may have been picked as a supplier because of its domestic and foreign factories.

Spokesmen for Dana and GM declined to answer questions about the work.

Contact Larry P. Vellequette at: lvellequette@theblade.com or 419-724-6091.



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