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Magna looks for new customers in Austria

From Automotive News| May 17,2007

Magna International Inc. says it talking with other automaker customers about assembling vehicles at its Graz, Austria, plant now that BMW AG is moving production of its X3 crossover to the United States.

Norbert Reithofer, chairman of BMW's Board of Management, said Tuesday, May 15, that the next-generation X3 would be built at BMW's plant in Spartanburg, S.C., as part of a plan to boost U.S. production capacity from 140,000 units to 200,000 units annually.

Magna Steyr in Austria has been the sole producer of the X3 since it debuted in 2003. In a statement today, Magna International said that while the end of the program is at the discretion of BMW, it expects to cease X3 production in 2010.

The X3 represented about 45 percent of the total vehicles assembled at Magna Steyr in 2006. Magna International also is a supplier to the Spartanburg plant, which currently produces the Z4 roadster and coupe and X5 crossover.

In 2006, BMW was Magna International's third-largest customer behind General Motors and DaimlerChrysler AG. BMW accounted for $4.31 billion in Magna's revenue last year compared with $4.01 billion in 2005.

Magna International ranks No. 2 on the Automotive News list of the top 150 suppliers to North America with North American original-equipment automotive parts sales of $12.90 billion in 2006.

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