Munich. The BMW Group and SFT (Steyr-Daimler-Puch Fahrzeugtechnik AG & Co. KG), Graz (Austria), a subsidiary of Magna Group, have signed a cooperation agreement covering the development and manufacture of the new BMW "X3" Sports Activity Vehicle. The detailed vehicle concept worked out by engineers from the BMW Group was forwarded to Magna Steyr Engineering for series development. Production will be taken over by Magna Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik in Graz. The relevant contract was signed yesterday in Munich.Through this cooperation on the realisation of the BMW "X3" project, the BMW Group is optimising its own resources and pushing forward with its product offensive. In Magna Steyr, the BMW Group has found a partner with many years' experience in the realisation of vehicle projects. There has been in-depth cooperation between the companies for years in the field of BMW four-wheel drive technology in particular.
"Those who work alone can only accumulate; but those who cooperate intelligently can multiply", says Professor Dr.-Ing. Joachim Milberg, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG. "Our cooperation with Magna Steyr increases the speed and flexibility of our company and is a further milestone in the consistent implementation of our product offensive."
The BMW "X3" is an expansion of the X family, and is an independent new development. As with all BMW vehicles, some elements will use BMW module units. All the vehicle components in the BMW "X3" will be signed off by the BMW Group's Development Departments. In addition, core areas of competence, such as design, engine construction, purchasing and customer service will remain the sole responsibility of the BMW Group.
Dr.-Ing. Burkhard Göschel, Member of the Board of BMW AG, Development: "We are making sure, right in the development process, that the "X3" will be a BMW through and through. Components where BMW is a step ahead in terms of expertise will continue to be developed by BMW engineers solely."
In order to integrate Magna Steyr in the worldwide BMW development network, associates from Magna Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik will be trained in the BMW Group. Further details about the product will be published as usual before the market launch.
Magna Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik will be building a new assembly building in Graz for production. The existing paint shop and shell construction facilities will be modified. The total project-related expenses total comes to EUR 500 million. Around 2,500 associates will be employed in production. The BMW "X3" will be produced in Graz for markets throughout the world. The production plants in Graz are designed for a capacity of over 300 vehicles per day. Production will be adjusted flexibly to demand. It is intended that series production should start in 2004.
Magna Steyr has regularly been awarded top marks in the famous quality surveys carried out by J.D. Power & Associates. Magna Steyr Engineering will be employing some 400 engineers on series development.
"The BMW order is a further recognition of our overall vehicle competence, which is based - at the Graz site in particular - on 100 years of tradition and experience in automobile technology", explained Siegfried Wolf, President & CEO, Magna Steyr, the parent company of SFT.
The BMW Group in Austria
The BMW Group is already important for Austria as a commercial location. Overall, the BMW Group's involvement in Austria has already created over 8,000 direct and indirect jobs and led to the investment of around EUR 2 billion.
Last year, exports by the BMW Group in Austria exceeded imports by over 55% (exports: EUR 2.2 billion, imports: EUR 1.4 billion). The largest engine factory in the BMW Group today has been located in Steyr (Upper Austria) since 1979. In the year 2000, around 2,500 associates produced over 620,000 four and six cylinder petrol and diesel engines, which is around two thirds of all BMW engines built worldwide. At the same time, the location is also the diesel competence centre within BMW.
The BMW Group's sales company in Austria, BMW Austria (founded in 1978), was able to deliver 11,675 cars and 1,891 motorcycles to customers in 2000.
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