Later this year, Magna will initiate production of the new Z4 for BMW. The G29-platform roadster will be joining the likes of electrified G30 5 Series and the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, all of which are are assembled, at least in part, by Magna. Official press releases state that the famous Graz, Austria, manufacturing facility will be responsible for building the new sports car, and some sources are reporting that recent new contracts like this one have been a catalyst for the new hiring of some 3,000 workers, which brings total facility staff up to 10,000. In addition to other engineering-focused facilities, the enlarged workforce allows for an impressive production capacity of 200,000 vehicles a year.
Most people are aware of Magna Steyr’s role in the automotive industry, thanks to its long-running relationship with Mercedes-Benz, which has resulted in nearly 40 years of continuous G-Wagen production. But the firm’s repertoire is much broader, and includes a number of other platforms and vehicles, like the Volkswagen T3-generation—sold in the U.S. as the Vanagon—along with the WK-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Commander, and Chrysler 300C. Other claims to fame include the Aston Martin Rapide, in addition to painted aluminum bodies for the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG.
BMW vehicles have been rolling out of the Graz plant since at 2003, when Magna kicked off production of the first-generation X3. When production of the E83 platform ended in 2010, The MINI Countryman was just getting started, and a few years later, the Paceman would also be added to the list of vehicles manufactured by Magna. More recently, and keeping with the crossover trend, Jaguar models like the I-Pace and E-Pace have been manufactured on the property, while G30 5 Series with electric drivetrains are also shared between Graz and BMW’s own facility in Dingolfing.
With unique experience relating to the complex assembly procedures necessary for convertibles, AWD passenger cars, and rugged trucks and SUVs, Magna seems particularly well qualified to build the 2019 Z4.
Those following the story will remember that Toyota has been deeply involved in the development of the new platform, and plans to use it for a new version of the Supra, dubbed the Mk5. The Supra is slated to be sold as a coupe, however, which suggests that it might be made elsewhere. Either way, we’ll be watching developments closely, and look forward to sharing more details as they become available.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy of BMW AG, Daimler AG, Magna International.]