While customers have threatened to pull out of their contracts due to Magna International Inc.'s impending takeover of Opel, it got a boost of confidence from Daimler AG which is actually its fifth-biggest customer. Daimler submitted a huge order of aluminum bodies for the upcoming Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, giving Magna some assurance that it would not pull out business from it.
Magna disclosed that the aluminum bodies would be built at the Magna Steyr unit based in Austria - Graz. Incidentally, it's also where the Mercedes-Benz G-class SUV is built.
In a statement, Magna co-CEO Siegfried Wolf said that it takes pride from being the only supplier in Europe that's able to make a body made only of aluminum. He said that it underlines its leading position in "challenging and innovative technologies." Magna's capacity to produce these parts is quite impressive and has great value for carmakers.
Aluminum is a third lighter than steel while offering extreme rigidity, says Autonews. Since aluminum has varying metallic properties, it is a more complicated material to use in cars than steel.
Different production methods are used for tooling, stamping, welding and painting aluminum. Hitting markets in early 2010 is the anticipated supercar that is fitted with two "gullwing" doors that swing upwards for entry. This design actually became legendary in the 1950s when Mercedes launched the SL300 sports coupe.