Dana Corporation And German Company Form Joint Venture To Produce High-Tech Air Filtration Products For North America

Sep 6, 1996


    TOLEDO, Ohio, Sept. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Dana Corporation's Wix Filtration
Products Group and Helsa-Werke (Helmut Sandler GmbH & Co.) have formed a joint
venture to produce particulate and odor removal air filtration products for
automotive, commercial and industrial markets in North America.
    Dana will own 60 percent of Wix-Helsa Filtration Technologies, Inc., the
new joint venture company, and Helsa will own 40 percent, according to
Richard B. Forde, group vice president of Dana's Filtration Products Group,
and Dr. Peter Hagemann, managing partner of Helsa, headquartered in Gefrees,
Germany.
    The research, development and production facilities of the new company
will be housed in a Wix facility in Gastonia, N.C.
    Initially, the new company will focus on the fast-growing market for cabin
air filters for passenger cars, trucks and recreational vehicles.  Forde and
Hagemann said the combined technology and skills of Wix and Helsa will also be
used to provide technology for improved air quality in offices, commercial
buildings and manufacturing facilities.
    Helsa, which pioneered the development of cabin air filters in Europe in
the 1980s, is a 50-year-old, private company and one of Europe's premier
producers of technical non-woven materials and the high-technology filters
that use those materials.
    Cabin air filters were first developed to remove dust, pollen and other
particulates from the air coming into the vehicle passenger compartment.
Later, Helsa pioneered the development of filters that remove odors from the
air flow.  Today, 50 percent of all new European cars come equipped with cabin
air filters.
    Helsa produced the particulate and odor removal cabin air filters used on
the Mercedes S-Class automobile in 1991 and on the Mercedes E-Class model,
introduced in 1995.  Other Helsa cabin air filter customers include Audi,
GM-Opel, Fiat, Lancia, Renault, Mercedes Truck and Bus, Man Truck and Bus, and
Neoplan buses.
    Cabin air filters are now being incorporated into North American vehicle
designs, Forde and Hagemann said.  Forecasts say about 85 percent of all new
cars will have cabin air filters by the year 2000, when the market will reach
$100 million in North America and $400 million worldwide.
    Helsa was recently awarded the worldwide supply contract for particulate
filters for the Opel Vectra.  The new joint venture is expected to produce
cabin air filters for this vehicle, when it goes into production in the U.S.
in 1999.
    The Helsa Group has 13 plants in Europe and operations in China and South
Africa, Hagemann said.  The Helsa product line also includes gas filtration
products, diaphragms for control and measurement, textile laminates and
microporous membranes and foils.
    "Filtration is a core business for Dana," Forde said, "and our goal is to
bring our current customers, primarily in the automotive market, new
technologies and products to help them better serve the needs of their
customers.  At the same time, our strategy is to extend the scope of our
filtration activities into non-automotive areas.  The Wix-Helsa partnership
provides tremendous opportunities on both counts."
    Dr. Hagemann said his company has been evaluating the North American
market for some time.
    "We think this joint venture with Dana is a great opportunity to serve the
needs of customers in many industries, who, more than ever, must be concerned
with making and keeping things clean in their business and manufacturing
processes,"  he said.
    Dana Corporation is a global leader in the engineering, manufacturing and
distribution of products and systems for the vehicular, industrial and mobile
off-highway markets.  Founded in 1904 and based in Toledo, Ohio, Dana operates
facilities in 29 countries with 45,000 people.  Its 1995 sales were
$7.6 billion.  Named in 1995 by Financial World magazine as one of the "Best
100 Growth Companies," Dana is noted for its style of management and its
commitment to innovation.  It has more than 37 product research and
development centers.  The internet address for Dana's home page is
http://www.dana.com.

SOURCE  Dana Corporation

CONTACT: Gary Corrigan, Director-Corporate Communications, of Dana
Corporation, 419-535-4813

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