Siegfried Wolf, president of Magna Europe
Magna and other supplier groups continue to buy new firms. How far will this industry consolidation go?
It is not simply buying other firms. It becomes more and more important that auto manufacturers find partners who can supply all the values needed and who know where the responsibility lies if you build cars together.
That means that they have r&d for all the processes and understand the logistics behind assembling whole modules. Only then can you be the carmaker's partner - shaping the whole product in a way that the carmaker does not lose control over his product.
Some carmakers fear suppliers will eventually form groups that are too powerful.
There will be no monopolies. All car manufacturers wish for two or three suppliers to compete and competition rules all life. The manufacturers will take measures to prevent any monopolies on the suppliers' side.
Some carmakers also fear that over-large suppliers will result in all cars looking the same.
That depends on how you define co-design. Both sides have to contribute. That means that you have to create in each supplier's plant the structures for serving a particular manufacturer and his wishes. Then you have to build structures that can give you a temporary advantage in timing. These things come under the heading of trust.
What is Magna's experience working on Micro Compact Car's Smart production line in Hambach, France?
Very good. It shows how both sides understand what partnership is really about. We are positive about this partnership. It is different from just selling a certain part. Micro Compact Car asked us to make complete doors, not just supply parts. That is why we bought Uniport, who had the door responsibility and we now deliver all three doors. That is how we understand partnership.
Do your workers on the Hambach assembly line earn less than the Micro Compact Car workers?
No, we agreed to pay about the same. But there is also the matter of motivation. Satisfied workers who have a good feeling in working deliver good work and profit through our workers' compensation scheme.