If you want to keep that sweet $7,500 federal tax rebate on your company’s electric vehicles, your EV now needs to undergo final assembly in the United States. Magna Steyr is a manufacturer; it doesn’t sell cars directly, but it does build them on contract for numerous major automakers. For the firm to keep getting business, it seems it will have to establish a manufacturing footprint in the U.S. — which now seems to be exactly the plan, according to one of Magna Steyr’s top executives.
Courtesy of Automotive News and its German affiliate, Automobilwoche:
“We want to enter the U.S. market. We are intensively looking for a location right now,” Magna Steyr’s vice president, Kurt Bachmaier, told Automotive News affiliate Automobilwoche.
Bachmaier did not disclose where Magna Steyr might build its plant, but said the company is looking at areas that have suitably qualified employees, access to suppliers and plenty of space.
The company will also choose a site based on how windy and sunny it is because it intends to generate sustainable electricity.
“We want a climate-friendly plant,” Bachmaier said.
He said California has been ruled out as a potential site.
The Magna Steyr plant in Graz, Austria currently assembles the Toyota GR Supra and BMW Z4, Jaguar I-Pace and E-Pace, Mercedes G-Class and, eventually, the Fisker Ocean. Notably, Sony chose Magna Steyr to build its electric, semi-autonomous Vision-S prototypes. For a minute, the manufacturer was linked to Apple’s Project Titan as well.
Auto News adds that this is not the first time Magna International — Magna Steyr’s Canadian parent company — has mulled a North American factory. The Canadian parts giant’s top executive floated such an idea four years ago; the thinking was that such a facility might be necessary once the Graz plant was maxed out. From the 2018 interview:
Magna CEO Don Walker is keeping his options open on building the company’s first North American vehicle assembly plant, for its Magna Steyr subsidiary.
Steyr has no plan in the works, Walker says, but he will build a plant here if customers give him cause.
“We get a lot of requests,” Walker told Automotive News of the idea of building vehicles in North America. “It’s typically a unique vehicle, or a peak volume. But I think that if we had a plant here we’d be getting a lot of business.”
Capacity is still a concern, but now the company has an even more urgent reason to fire up a U.S. production line. It’s hardly an uncommon situation for automakers to find themselves in these days.