GRAZ, Austria - The chairman of Magna International, Frank Stronach, has denied that he is talking to General Motors about a contract to build a complete car in North America.
The denial follows recent press reports claiming Stronach had been overheard speaking about a deal with GM during a tour of Magna's Steyr plant here by the Canadian prime minister.
Stronach said: 'I toured the plant with the prime minister and pointed out that we assembled the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Chrysler Voyager and the Mercedes-Benz M-class for DaimlerChrysler. Of course I said we would be able to offer similar small series production services in North America, but I never mentioned talks with any one company.'
Magna Europe is already looking to double capacity at its new heavy stamping plant just days after its inauguration. The plant produces body panels for the Voyager and Grand Cherokee and is already running to full capacity.
The customer list is growing and already includes large stampings and ready-made modules for the Ford Focus and Opel Astra, longitudinal bearers for Volkswagen's Passat and the spare wheel well for BMW's 3 series.
After opening the plant, Magna Europe President Siegfried Wolf said the order book would be full even if capacity were doubled.
Magna Europe is to sell its Steyr Antriebstechnik heavy-duty transmission specialist to Zahnradfabrik Passau, a subsidiary of ZF Friedrichshafen.
The subsidiary has not been profitable for a number of years and its main customer, Steyr Trucks, has been sold to MAN AG, which produces its own transmissions. Its associated R&D center with 340 engineers and technicians will remain with Steyr and Magna.
The deal should be finalized by the end of August.