Magna’s project is the latest example of a major supplier investing to alter its manufacturing footprint with an eye toward winning EV-related businesses as the industry’s electrification push continues.
This is the third significant investment Magna has made in its battery enclosure manufacturing footprint in the past year. In that time, the company also committed about $700 million to build or expand battery enclosure plants in Michigan and Ontario, the latter of which supplies Ford for F-150 Lightning production.
Battery enclosures are a significant “target area” for Magna as it positions itself for EV production in the coming years, said Eric Wilds, the supplier’s chief sales and marketing officer. Enclosures, which house high-voltage batteries and other EV components, are a “natural progression” for Magna, which has extensive experience building frames and underbody components for gasoline-powered vehicles, he said.
“They’re very complex, especially when considering they need to be leak-proof,” he said in an interview with Automotive News. “It’s not as simple as building a big box and welding it together. The complexity is something that makes it a great target area for us and makes it somewhat difficult to the point where not just anyone else can do it.”
Magna’s other BlueOval City plant will be 140,000 square feet in size and produce polyurethane foam and assemble complete seats for just-in-time delivery. That plant will employ about 300 people, the company said.
For the third part of the project, the Aurora, Ontario, supplier intends to build a 400,000-square-foot (37,100-square-metre) factory in Lawrenceburg, Tenn., about 80 miles (125 kilomretres) south of Nashville and 140 miles (225 km) east of BlueOval City. The factory will produce vehicle frames and is expected to employ about 250 people.