Most automakers are known throughout the world as common names. Even those people that don’t really take an interest in cars, can name many auto companies. There is a ton of competition out there, so automakers need to strive to get the public’s attention. Even OEM and aftermarket suppliers and contract companies like Bosch, 3M, Delphi, Dow, Johnson Controls, Federal Mogul, Lear, and BASF are not foreign names to most. But Magna International … ?
Magna is a company out of Canada and is one of the top listed global automotive suppliers in the world. In 2014 the company was the largest automobile parts manufacturer in North America, and is one of the largest companies in Canada. Magna is a primary supplier for the big three automakers, Tesla, Volkswagen, Toyota, and BMW. The company also holds contract assembly rights for several vehicles, which will now include the BMW 5-Series sedans and likely the Apple Car.
Magna already employs close to 200,000, in over 400 locations, encompassing about 30 countries. It sounds like a partner that any company, on the brink of automotive exploration, would want without hesitation. The interesting caveat is that Magna is typically not discussed. Somehow, despite the company’s huge impact, it stays under the radar. Magna, and/or those managing the enterprise, seem to have no interest in public fame.
It is not a wonder that Apple would choose such an outfit. We all know that it is a substantial undertaking for Apple to keep projects so “tight-lipped”. Partnering up with another company makes this even more difficult. We have seen news spring immediately anytime another company has reported working with Apple. Take for example the recent South Korean “hollow battery” partnership, or Apple’s stake in Didi-Chuxing, or Apple’s early visits and talks with BMW and Daimler.
Magna has the potential to be one of the biggest impacts to the tech/automotive surge in Silicon Valley, as the company has publicly shared that it is looking to technology companies for new partners. Magna also intends to expand and add capacity worldwide in the near future.
We know that Apple, and Tim Cook, showed a fond interest in BMW as the Apple Car rumors began to unfold. With the recent announcement that Magna will now be building cars for BMW, it is sort of a roundabout way for Apple to connect with BMW, and that initially sought after profile, while remaining “secret”, and not tied to a household name.
Apple would be hard-pressed to find a better fit. However, don’t expect Magna or Apple to “let the cat out of the bag” with any direct statements anytime soon. Of course …