I read a report that Magna Steyr would be contracted to build two new sports cars that are being jointly developed by Toyota and BMW. There have been reports for many months about the Toyota Supra coming back to market and this most recent report now suggests that it will be built in Europe as opposed to Japan.
The concept Supra was showcased at the Geneva International Motor Show recently with the car to be launched in 2019. Powered by a straight six motor (expected to be from the BMW stable), this car is hoped to become the halo car for the brand. Toyota understands that sharing development costs with other manufacturers is good sense with Subaru jointly working on the GT86/BRZ coupe.
BMW will have a new sports car based on the same platform and will retain the Z4 moniker, however it will start out as a convertible. The concept car looks a lot like a 6 series and unlike the Toyota, it is likely to have a wider range of motors.
Interestingly, Magna Steyr were very cagey about what they would be doing with the vehicles saying “No announcement has been made by BMW or Toyota and we are therefore unable to comment“. However someone has spilled the beans!
Magna Steyr have built a great business in recent decades providing contract assembly for other manufacturers. It is often a simple commercial decision to have someone like Magna Steyr to build a vehicle that the original factory cannot build due to space or other issues. BMW certainly have a long relationship with the company, so it would be logical for the new sports car to be built there – some 5 series are already built by them. The factory is capable of 200,000 units a year, so is a valuable resource for other manufacturers.
Magna Steyr is part of the Canadian Magna International and started out in the Steyr Daimler Puch group. I’ll write an article on their history as it is fascinating and over the years they have built cars for many of the European manufacturers, even to the point of being part of their development teams. BMW and Mercedes-Benz have worked with them extensively on SUVs namely the X3 series and the G Class at both ends of the price scale!
The Audi TT and the Peugeot RCV coupes were also developed under contract, so the company has a great record for creating good looking cars. As far as assembly is concerned, they have a huge history of vehicles ranging from Haflingers and Pinzgauer to many four wheel drive or all wheel drive cars. That list includes Jeep Grand Cherokees and Mercedes E Class saloons.
They have also been involved the the Mercedes SLS AMG, the Aston Martin Rapide and several Mini’s. Last year they signed an agreement with Jaguar to build the e-Pace and they are expected to build the i-Pace as well. It just goes to show that the car you drive may not come from the country of the manufacturer!
In February, the assembly contracts contributed to great figures for the parent company so with these new contracts, they could be one of the most profitable factories in Europe. On a final note, the featured image shows the beauty of the city of Steyr, where that factory is located.