Magna & the Challenges of Modern Automotive Manufacturing

Magna International is the third-largest automotive supplier on the planet.

Magna International is the third-largest automotive supplier on the planet. And that “international” in its name is completely credible because the company has 312 manufacturing operations and 83 product development, engineering and sales centers that are variously located in 29 countries.

In addition to which, it is interesting to note that Magna supplies components and systems inside and out, top to bottom, from hot-stamped steel beams to vision systems, from exterior body panels to seats. Arguably, it has the capabilities to actually build a car or truck on its own. Of course, that wouldn’t make sense from the standpoint of going into competition with its customers, among which are essentially every OEM in the world. And it should be noted that Magna does contract manufacturing, as in the Mercedes G-Class and the MINI Countryman and MINI Paceman, all it its plant in Graz, Austria.

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Given that breadth of knowledge and capability within Magna, we decided it would be interesting to gain some insights on the trends and development from a man who is helping promulgate them throughout the industry, Swamy Kotagiri, Chief Technology Officer at Magna, so we sat down and talked to him on this edition of “Autoline After Hours.”

Kotagiri provided insights on a variety of things ranging from the seeming material of the moment, aluminum, to the need to reduce parasitic losses throughout the car (be it powering wheels that don’t need to be under power or pumps that don’t need to be operating).

What does he number among the biggest challenges of the industry right now?

You may be surprised to learn: Joining. That’s right, putting things—particularly things that are made of different materials—together.

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In addition to which, Autoline’s John McElroy, Drew Winter, editor-in-chief of Ward’s Auto, and I discuss a variety of industry developments, including the management changes at Ford (Farley goes to Europe, Odell moves from Europe to the U.S.), Motor Trend’s selection of the Golf “family” for Car of the Year, and a whole lot more.

Which you can see here: