Magna Steyr President Guenther Apfalter says that 2009 was the contract manufacturer's worst year in three decades, but the start of three new production contracts for three different automakers in 2010 has him optimistic about the future.
Apfalter says that Magna Steyr, the Graz, Austria,-based unit of Canada's Magna International Inc., used the global economic downturn to reinvent itself as a "one-stop-shop" for automakers that want to quickly and cost-effectively produce niche derivatives off their volume platforms. Magna's first win in this area was the Peugeot RCZ, which arrives in showrooms this month. The RCZ is based on Peugeot's high-volume 308 compact hatchback. Apfalter foresees other automakers, particularly Asian brands, taking advantage of his company's expertise in this area. He discussed this as well as Magna's plans to grow its convertible roof business during a recent interview with Automotive News Europe Correspondent Douglas A. Bolduc.