Magna Invests $790 Million in Tennessee, Expanding U.S. Manufacturing

Canadian auto parts maker Magna International Inc (MG.TO) said on Thursday it would invest $790 million to build three new supplier facilities, two of which will be housed at Ford Motor Co’s (F.N.) BlueOval City campus in Tennessee. The development comes as suppliers race to meet requirements from automakers, who have been hustling to boost their electric vehicle output as demand for environmentally friendly vehicles surges globally.

G.M., in particular, has been investing heavily in its E.V. business as it prepares for a future when it will be a majority-electric vehicle company. However, the Detroit-based carmaker also produces conventionally powered cars and SUVs. The latest investment by Magna, a global contract manufacturer of automotive interiors and exteriors, reflects that shift.

The company said that Magna will open a new plant in Auburn Hills, Michigan, to supply seats for G.M.’s upcoming electric cars. It will also expand a plant in St. Clair, Michigan, that currently produces steel battery enclosures for a major automaker to keep up with increasing demand for those critical components as the industry pivots toward electric vehicles.

The company also is adding production at a facility in Guelph, Ontario, that makes powertrain components and bolstering printed circuit board assembly capabilities at a plant in Belleville, both of which will create jobs. And a facility in Penetanguishene, Ontario, will add the capability to manufacture powered aluminum tonneau covers for pickup trucks.

The company said all of the investments are expected to be completed by 2024 and will create about 920 jobs. The first expansion will be at the St. Clair plant, which opened in 2021 and already supplies steel E.V. battery enclosures for another significant automaker. Magna will expand the capacity by building a 740,000-square-foot facility to increase production to support an additional E.V. project.

BlueOval City, built in rural West Tennessee, will include a vehicle assembly plant operated by G.M., a battery factory jointly operated with Korea’s S.K. Energy, and supplier facilities. The project is part of a larger greenfield site northeast of Memphis that state and local officials have spent years preparing to lure manufacturers and suppliers.

Magna said the new plants it is opening will be home to manufacturing operations that can produce a broad range of E.V. components, including powertrains, body structures, and advanced electronics systems. The e-mobility focus reflects the company’s long-term strategy as it seeks to be one of the world’s largest and most diverse contract manufacturers. The company’s diversified portfolio includes 13 plants in North America, 14 in Europe, and five in Asia. The company’s Steyr, Austria-based division, is the leading producer of the Fisker Ocean E.V., which started production in November. The company is also the leading producer of the Mercedes-Benz G class for Daimler AG. It has a joint venture with the Chinese carmaker Great Wall Motor Co to make electric vehicles in China. The company also has a stake in the German battery-making firm Veoneer.

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