One of the secrets to making money on Wall Street consistently is to pay a discount price for solid companies that nobody wants. The struggling auto parts industry, for example, has been suffering in tandem with the increasingly unpopular U.S. auto industry. Battered by higher fuel prices and declining car sales, manufacturers like ArvinMeritor (NYSE:ARM) and Delphi (NYSE:DPH) have found Wall Street to be an especially rocky road. But the ride might soon become less bumpy for Dana (NYSE:DCN) and its investors, thanks to its recent unveiling of potentially vital new engine technology.

As of this writing, Dana had unfortunately suffered another earnings crash. Today it slashed its 2005 earnings guidance roughly in half, from an expected $1.20 per share to between $0.60 and $0.70 cents per share. The higher cost of steel and energy and the lower production of light vehicles by carmakers have taken their toll on Dana's bottom line. Investors have sold on the news, driving the stock down more than 20%.

But redemption may be just around the corner for Dana and its stock, given the innovations it has showcased at the ongoing 61st International Motor Show in Frankfurt, Germany. Dana's new, proprietary AtmoPlasT microwave atmospheric plasma technology uses a modified spark plug to ignite the fuel/air mixture inside a car's engine, delivering superior fuel efficiency and cleaner emissions. This novel method could substantially change car engines as we know them for decades to come. The technology has also been patented as a way to increase parts' reliability through the heat treatment and coating of metals and other materials.

It's too early to tell whether Dana's a good buy. However, if its new technology catches on, this beaten-up blue chip may find itself with a ticket back into the fast lane.

Fools, start your engines:

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Fool contributor M.D. Mitchell is down the street at the local junkyard looking for some good trash. He will read his email as soon as he changes the spark plugs in his gas-guzzling SUV. At the time of publication, he held no financial position in any of the above companies.