Canada’s Magna International to produce BMW hybrid at Austrian factory

Magna International

Magna International will build the new BMW 5-series plug-in hybrid at its plant in Graz, Austria. Magna Twitter photo.

Magna International also contracted to build Jaguar’s I-PACE SUV

On Monday, Canadian auto supplier Magna International Inc. announced it will build BMW’s new 5-series plug-in hybrid at the company’s factory in Graz Austria.

Magna says it plans to produce electric vehicles on a contract basis for global automakers and already has an agreement in place to produce Jaguar’s I-PACE SUV, beginning in the first quarter of 2018.

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The Aurora, Ontario-based company has been working with BMW for over 15 years.

The first BMW produced at Magna’s Graz plant was the X3 SUV that rolled off the assembly line in 2003.  The company has also produced other non-electric vehicles, including BMW’s Mini Countryman and Mercedes-Benz’ G-Wagen SUV.

“We are excited to be adding another electrified vehicle architecture to our line-up,” said Guenther Apfalter, President Magna Steyr.  “Vehicle electrification is a growing trend in the industry and, with our complete vehicle know-how, we are in a great position to help our customers meet the demands.”

While consumer demand remains relatively low for electric vehicles versus gasoline engine vehicles, companies are offering customers more choices.  Government mandates for increased sales of vehicles with small or no emissions are expected to help push consumers towards EVs.

Magna is North America’s largest automotive supplier and the third-largest globally.  It stands alone as the top auto suppliers to perform contract manufacturing for carmakers.

The Graz plant in Austria can produce about 200,000 cars per year and the company is now building a new paint shop in Slovenia to meet excess demand.

According to Swamy Kotagiri, Magna International’s chief technology officer, contract manufacturing of EVs is a “near-term opportunity” for the Canadian company.  Kotagiri says that by 2025, 40 to 50 per cent of all vehicles produced will include some electrification elements.

“We are setting up knowing the penetration will be higher.”

This year the company celebrates a milestone of more than three million vehicles produced in total for various automakers over the life of the plant in Graz.

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