Magna, JBEV Partner to Build Electric Cars in China

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【Summary】North American automotive supplier Magna International Inc. looks to build and engineer electric cars in China, prompting the company to partner with Beijing Electric Vehicle Co., which is China’s largest EV manufacturer.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Jun 25, 2018 8:00 AM PT
Magna, JBEV Partner to Build Electric Cars in China

Magna, a global automotive supplier that's based in Canada, has been hard at work on coming out with autonomous technology to rival systems and equipment from technology companies and automakers. You don't hear a lot of news about technology coming from suppliers, but Magna has come out with some newsworthy tech. 

Last summer, Magna and Continental completed a 350-mile trip that saw cars fitted with the brands' respective autonomous technology drive from Detroit to Ontario. Executives and officials from both companies claimed that it was the first demonstration of two autonomous vehicles crossing an international border. A few months later, Magna unveiled its MAX4 driverless car system on a Jeep Cherokee that was capable of Level 4 autonomy. 

Magna Expands Beyonds Autonomous Tech

Magna knows what it's doing when it comes to self-driving tech, but the supplier is now focusing on making electric vehicles. But those vehicles won't be sold in North America. Instead, Magna wants to sell electric cars in China, which, as Bloomberg reports, is the first time the North American car supplier is expanding beyond its 20-year partnership with Steyr. 

To meet its goal of becoming a player in the EV scene in China, Magna has formed two joint ventures with Beijing Electric Vehicle Co. (BJEV), which is the largest electric automaker in the country. Together, Magna and BJEV will take over a factory in Zhenjiang. Vehicle production at the location is set to begin in 2020. Bloomberg claims that Magna and BJEV have been talking about a pact involving EVs since February.

"These joint venture operations mark an historic milestone for Magna," said Don Walker, CEO of Magna International Inc. "For the first time we will be providing our customers with cars engineered and built outside our complete vehicle manufacturing facility in Graz, Austria. It's a unique capability for Magna, especially with our ability to produce vehicles with conventional, hybrid and electric powertrains, and we are excited to bring it to a market like China where there is tremendous opportunity." 

Why Getting Into China Now Is Smart

Magna's move to get a stronger foothold in China isn't surprising, as the country has all but banned anything that isn't electrified. As a move to ensure that they don't lose out on sales with the country's move towards electric vehicles, numerous automakers have set up camp in the country. General Motors has plans to sell 20 new EVs in China by 2023. Even Honda, a company that hasn't been crazy about electrified vehicles, made the Everus EV concept for China. 

Electric cars are more popular than ever in China. Last year, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers claimed that the country was on track to sell a total of 700,000 electric cars in the country by the end of 2017. With China continuing to crackdown on emissions, electric vehicles will only continue to become even more popular, which makes Magna's move well timed. 

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