As of March 2nd, Magna International started building the BMW 5 Series in Graz, Austria –the first step in an aggressive expansion of the Canadian parts company’s auto-assembly business. The production is said to be split between the plant in Austria and the one in Dingolfing, Germany. According to Günther Apfalter, President of Magna Europe and Magna Steyr, “the new collaboration emphasizes our customer’s continued trust in our contract manufacturing capability and our unmatched leadership position in this area.” By 2019, Magna International estimates their annual assembly sales will be between $6.6 billion USD and $7.1 billion and they hope to reach approximately 200,000 vehicles per year by 2018. Magna CEO Don Walker states that “this tremendous expected growth in assembly sales and volumes is a testament to Magna Steyr’s complete-vehicle expertise and the deep trust that OEMs have in Magna”.
While this is not the first time that Magna International has built for BMW –the partnership between Magna and the BMW Group began in 2001and the vehicles they’ve manufactured include the BMW X3 in 2003, the MINI Countryman in 2010, and the MINI Paceman in 2012), the BMW 5 Series is only the beginning of the company’s expansion. According to Walker, the company will follow up the vehicle with two Jaguar models as well as two other, as of yet, unspecified vehicles. The first of the Jaguar models is said to be the Jaguar I-Pace battery electric vehicle, which was previewed at the Los Angeles auto show back in November. The production models of the I-Pace are slated to go on sale in mid-2018 rivalling the EVs planned by German competitors Audi and Mercedes-Benz. The second JLR model to be produced by Magna at the facility in Austria will be announced later this year.
Magna is a leading global automotive supplier with 309 manufacturing operations and 99 product development, engineering and sales centres in 29 countries. In Magna’s official statement on the partnership with BMW and JLR, they “have complete vehicle engineering and contract manufacturing expertise, as well as product capabilities which include body, chassis, exterior, seating, powertrain, electronic, active driver assistance, vision, closure and roof systems” making them one of the largest auto-manufacturers in the world and one of the best. The company also ranks No. 3 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers, with worldwide sales of original equipment parts of $32.1 billion in 2015. Magna expects to increase production levels over the next two years with many more contracts in the works.