E. Dauch, 71, co-founder and executive chairman of American
Axle & Manufacturing Inc., died Aug. 2, the auto supply
Dauch joined General
Motors Corp. as a management trainee in 1964, working at the
Flint, Mich., assembly plant. He held several supervisory
positions before being named plant manager of Chevrolet Spring
& Bumper in Livonia, Mich., in 1973, and later became plant
manager of the Detroit gear and axle manufacturing complex.
He left GM in 1976 to
join Volkswagen of America, where he was vice president and
general manufacturing manager before being promoted to group
vice president and gaining a seat on the board of directors for
his work on VWs successful launch of vehicle production
in the United States.
Dauch joined Chrysler
Corp. in 1980, where he led manufacturing initiatives to
improve quality, production and labor. His key innovations
included three-shift assembly, just-in-time materials
management, and sequential production.
"Dick was practicing
lean manufacturing and leading the quality revolution years
before those terms became part of the business conversation,"
former Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca said in a statement.
Detroit-based American Axle & Manufacturing in March 1994
after forming an investment team that purchased GMs Final
Drive and Forge Business unit. He was chief executive officer
from 1994 to 2012 and president from 1994 to 2000, and had been
chairman since 1997.
He received numerous
honors during his career, supported the community and education
and raised money for charities.
Dauch is survived by his wife, Sandra, two sons, two
daughters, 16 grandchildren, two great grandchildren and six