BMW Hires Magna to Build New 5 Series Sedan

Supplier builds cars for Jaguar, Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz.

by on Nov.04, 2016

BMW selected Magna to build 5 Series sedans at its plant in Graz, Austria, where it makes cars for Jaguar, Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz.

Automakers looking to sell vehicles in other countries often set up a small plant to assemble “knock-down” kits, which are essentially nearly assembled vehicles that can be completed quickly and efficiently.

However, Magna International is acting as a substitute automaker for many car companies as locations across the globe.

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Magna’s car-building subsidiary in Graz, Austria, is now at full capacity, says Jim Tobin, the company’s chief marketing officer, with the addition of a BMW product.

Tobin noted Magna recently announced it was selected by BMW to manufacture the new 5 Series sedan in Graz. The production, which is expected to begin in 2017, will be split with BMW Group’s manufacturing plant in Dingolfing, Germany.

“In the last 15 years of our collaboration, Magna has proven to be a trusted partner with expertise in world-class production capabilities. Therefore, Magna is exactly the right choice to share production of our new BMW 5 Series,” explains Oliver Zipse, BMW AG Board of Management member for Production.

The Graz complex is completely full building vehicles not only for BMW but also for Jaguar Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz, he added.

Magna makes more than concept cars. The companhy is producing vehicles for three automakers currently and may add Fiat Chrysler to its mix.

However, Tobin declined to comment on speculation that Magna was preparing to sign contracts to build complete vehicles for a customer in North America. The speculation has centered on the possibility of Magna building passenger cars Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which is converting its U.S. plants that once assembled compact cars to build trucks and utility vehicles.

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“We’ve got the engineering and technical depth so we’re able to offer competitive solutions to our customers,” said Magna’s chief marketing officer as he offered an overview of the services that have helped make Magna the largest automotive supplier in North America and the third largest in the world.

“China is our biggest area of growth but we are also expanding in India, North America and Europe to support the operations of its global customer base,” said Tobin, noting that Magna is preparing to open 29 new plants around the world by 2019 to support its customers in the auto industry.

The range of Magna’s services cover traditional areas such as metalforming, powertrain, enclosures and seating. But the company also can offer customers expertise in electronics, advance driver assistance and cyber security, said Ian Simmons, Magna vice president of business development and research and development.

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Magna is already the largest supplier of back-up cameras, which will soon be standard on every vehicle sold in the U.S., and is experimenting with adding cameras that would either replace or augment rear-view mirrors.

Magna recently demonstrated another system it has under development that uses sensors built into the car seat to detect if a driver is getting drowsy. The system monitors the driver’s biorhythms to detect if they might be falling asleep.

The advanced driver assistance systems features include forward emergency braking system that has already been employed on the Chevrolet Volt, Magna representatives said.

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Executives noted Magna is also active in finding ways to improve comfort and convenience features for customers and a variety of projects to reduce the weight of vehicles and bolster fuel economy. The light weighting includes the use of aluminum castings in parts of the vehicles, Simmons noted.

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