ILZ, Austria - Magna International may build a new car assembly plant to expand capacity at its Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik operations in Austria, said Magna Europe President Siegfried Wolf.
Wolf spoke at a ground-breaking ceremony for a new Steyr Powertrain components plant in this town near Steyr's headquarters in Graz.
Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik needs a new car assembly site. It is currently in discussions with some major car manufacturers about future assembly contracts, said Wolf. (See BMW X3 story, Page 1, and story below.) But it is fast running out of capacity at its main Graz complex in southwest Austria.
The Graz factory builds the Chrysler Grand Cherokee, and the E-class 4matic, the M-class and the G-wagen for Mercedes-Benz.
A decision about the new car assembly plant will be made within the next two years, said Wolf. The plant could be located at a new site in Austria, or it could be built alongside the new powertrain plant at Ilz.
Steyr Powertrain has been set up as a separate business arm of
parent company Steyr Fahr-zeugtechnik. It specializes in designing and manufacturing powertrains and their parts - such as four-wheel-drive systems, balancing shafts and transmissions. The powertrain business also has production sites in Lannach near Graz, Saltillo, Mexico, and Atlanta in the USA.
The new Ilz powertrain facility is being developed at a cost of more than E42 million.
Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik now concentrates wholly on developing, designing and engineering new vehicles, and assembling complete cars and sport-utilities.
The new car assembly plant initially would be able to build at least 40,000 cars a year. Steyr executives believe that is the lowest possible capacity for a profitable business.
Meanwhile, Frank Stronach, founder and majority owner of Magna, said Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik would go public 'soon' on the New York and Canadian stock exchanges. Stronach also wants its shares to be traded in London and Frankfurt.
'We are ready to go to the stock exchanges, but we are waiting for the best moment to do the introduction,' said Stronach.
Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik is a subsidiary of Magna International, which is based in Aurora, Ontario.
The Canadian supplier's vehicle systemsinclude instrument panels, seats, bumpers, engines, doors, chassis and interior and exterior components. It operates more than 170 plants and 30 development centers.