Magna International Inc., committed Feb. 15 to investing $470 million to open a recent battery enclosures plant in Brampton, Ont., in addition to expand five of its other auto parts manufacturing facilities spread throughout southern Ontario.
The spending will create greater than 1,000 recent jobs across the six sites, while allowing Magna to maintain up with strong customer demand across several recent and existing product lines, said Eric Wilds, the corporate’s chief sales and marketing officer.
“Magna’s roots in Ontario run deep, and we’re enthusiastic about opening a recent facility dedicated to a strategic electrification product,” he said in a release.
The brand new battery enclosures plant in the town northwest of Toronto will cover nearly 500,000 square-feet (45,000 square-metres) and employ 560 staff once ramped as much as full capability. It can construct lightweight aluminum battery enclosures for the Ford F-150 Lightning, in addition to future electric models planned for the U.S. automaker’s Oakville Assembly Complex.
John O’Hara, president of Magna’s body and chassis division Cosma, told Automotive News Canada the brand new Brampton plant will supply enclosures for the “third tranche” of the F-150 Lightning program over a roughly two-year period. A Magna plant in St. Thomas, outside London, Ont. is already constructing the component for the primary two stages of this system, he added.
The Aurora, Ont.-based supplier announced it will construct the enclosures for the brand new electrified Ford pickup in late 2021. An important component in all battery-electric vehicles, the housings protect high-voltage batteries, electrical components and sensors from the weather.
Magna’s recent Brampton plant will then shift its focus to Oakville.
O’Hara said the location will “ramp up” battery enclosure production for the Ford Explorer and Aviator programs destined for the assembly plant southwest of Toronto in 2024.
Ford has not officially confirmed the 2 models for the plant, but in 2020 it pledged to spend $1.8 billion in Oakville to start constructing unnamed battery-electric vehicles starting in 2024.
In November, industry analyst Sam Fiorani said his forecast has fully electric versions of the Explorer and Aviator booked for Oakville. The vice-president of worldwide vehicle forecasting at U.S.-based AutoForecast Solutions, said he expects production of the 2 SUVs will start in Oakville in 2024 following a retooling project.
Together with the F-150 Lightning, Magna has won battery enclosure supply contracts for the Chevrolet Silverado EV and GMC Hummer EV. Enclosures for those models will probably be built at one other recent Magna facility in St. Clair, Mich., about 50 miles (80 kilometres) north of Detroit.
The corporate’s official list of battery enclosure contract wins ends there, but O’Hara said there are more “within the pipeline.”
Magna’s spending on the brand new Brampton plant accounts for $265 million of the nearly half-billion-dollar investment, based on the Ontario ministry of economic development, job creation and trade. The power is scheduled to start producing battery enclosures within the second quarter of this yr.
‘ONTARIO BACK ON THE MAP’
Ontario Premier Doug Ford said the spending by the homegrown auto parts giant is “one other tremendous show of confidence” within the province’s auto sector.
“Together, with our industry partners, we’re putting Ontario back on the map as we construct up Ontario’s electric vehicle supply chain from mining to manufacturing,” he said in a release.
Ontario contributed $23.6 million to the six-plant capital spending program.
Along with the investment in Brampton, Magna will add recent capabilities to plants in Belleville, Guelph, Newmarket, Penetanguishene and Windsor.
The most important of those projects will happen in Guelph, where Magna is planning a 120,000-square-foot (11,000 square-metre) expansion to an existing exteriors plant. The work will add e-coat, molding and welding capability, while creating 175 recent jobs. As with in Brampton, production is anticipated to start out within the second quarter of this yr.
Magna operates 49 manufacturing plants in Canada, employing greater than 20,000 staff. It ranks No. 4 on the Automotive News list of the highest 100 global suppliers.