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Magna forms composite liftgate JV with Chinese automaker

ABR Staff Writer Published 03 April 2018

Automotive parts supplier Magna International formed a joint venture (JV) in China to make composite liftgates for a global automaker’s crossover vehicle commencing in late 2018.

The JV with Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC) subsidiary GAC Component Co. (GACC) will work out of a new 55,900ft² facility situated in Changsha, China. It will initially employ about 116 people.

The deal enables mass production of composite liftgates for fast-growing market and will further extend Magna’s presence in the China.

Magna stated that lightweight, fully recyclable, composite liftgates are especially beneficial as demand for crossover and sport utility vehicles remains high worldwide.

The liftgates modules are claimed to achieve up to 25% savings in mass over steel versions and will be delivered as complete assemblies to the customer.

Magna said the use of composite materials allows for greater design flexibility with deeper draws and tighter radii. Other benefits claimed by the company include full-system assembly and delivery approach will include reduced complexity of the total liftgate module, lower tooling investment and increased throughput at the assembly plant.

Magna exteriors president Grahame Burrow said: "We're seeing tremendous demand for advanced material innovations as manufacturers pursue all opportunities to take weight out of vehicles to meet emissions requirements.

"I am very pleased we have formed this JV with GACC as it provides great opportunities for future growth in liftgates and other lightweight exterior products going forward."

Burrow continued saying: "Magna's expertise in advanced materials and manufacturing, combined with GACC's deep connection in the world's largest automotive market, certainly ensures the strength of this strategic partnership.”

With the addition of the JV facility, Magna now operates 50 facilities in China, with a total of over 22,700 employees.

Earlier this year, the company had supplied a large volume of thermoplastic liftgates for the 2018 Jeep Cherokee sold in the US. It also claims to have produced the first all-thermoplastic, fully recyclable liftgate module in North America on the 2014 Nissan Rogue.


Image: Magna’s composite liftgates. Photo: Courtesy of Magna International Inc.