In response to the growing market for crossovers and sport utility vehicles in China, Magna has entered into a joint venture (JV) with GAC subsidiary, GAC Component Co. Ltd. (GACC), to begin production of composite liftgates for a global automaker’s crossover vehicle starting in late 2018. The JV will work out of a new 55,900 square-foot facility located in Changsha, China, with an estimated 116 employees at the start.
“We’re seeing tremendous demand for advanced material innovations as manufacturers pursue all opportunities to take weight out of vehicles to meet emissions requirements,” said Magna Exteriors President Grahame Burrow. “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.”
Lightweight, fully recyclable, composite liftgates are particularly beneficial as demand for crossover and sport utility vehicles remains high globally. These liftgate modules can achieve up to 25 percent mass savings over steel versions and are delivered as complete assemblies to the customer. Composite materials allow for greater design flexibility with deeper draws and tighter radii. Additional benefits of Magna’s full-system assembly and delivery approach include reduced complexity of the total liftgate module, lower tooling investment and increased throughput at the assembly plant.
“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,” added Burrow.
With the addition of this JV facility, Magna now expands to 50 facilities in China with more than 22,700 employees. The company also was recently named Employer of Choice by 51Job.com and Zhaopin.com.
Earlier this year, the company launched one of the largest-volume thermoplastic liftgates on the 2018 Jeep Cherokee, which is sold in the U.S. In addition, Magna produced one of the industry’s first all-thermoplastic, fully recyclable liftgate modules in North America on the 2014 Nissan Rogue.