A few back, President Biden signed a new climate bill into law that would axe tax credits for EVs that weren’t mostly built in North America. It was quite a bit blow to many European automakers who sell EVs in North America that aren’t built here. Since then, many automakers have been scrambling to figure out how to move EV production to North America. We even recently proposed that BMW should move EV production to its San Luis Potosi plant in Mexico, which would allow its EVs to qualify. However, another company that might open a plant in the U.S. is Magna Steyr, the Austrian manufacturer of many brands’ cars, and it could affect BMW.
“We want to enter the U.S. market. We are intensively looking for a location right now,” Magna Steyr vice president, Kurt Bachmaier told Automobilwoche. Bachmaier also said that wind and solar energy are important to the location, suggesting that Magna Steyr might be looking into renewable energy sources.
If Magna Steyr builds a U.S. plant, it could have both negative and positive affects on BMW. Let’s start with the negatives. Such a plant would allow BMW’s competition to meet the new U.S. regulations. Magna Steyr doesn’t develop new vehicles of its own but instead builds vehicles for other brands, including BMW. The most notable EV it’s currently in the process of building is the upcoming Fisker Ocean. So the Ocean could eventually meet the new regs, which would make it cheaper than BMW’s competition. But other German brands have relationships with Magna Steyr as well and they could do the same.
However, the positive is that BMW could use the plant, too. If BMW shows interest in this plant, Magna Steyr might agree to build Bavarian EVs at its ‘Stateside plant. Magna Steyr already builds some cars for BMW, such as the current 5 Series and BMW Z4. The Toyota Supra, which is essentially a Z4, is also built there. So it wouldn’t be outside the realm of possibility to see BMW continue its relationship with Magna Steyr to build EVs in America.
It’s actually a smart move for BMW, it would give BMW options. It already has the Spartanburg plant, which is massive but is already building so many vehicles, as it supplies SUVs for most markets in the world. It also has the aforementioned San Luis Potosi plant in Mexico. If BMW were to add another in North America, it would have three plants in which it could manufacture EVs, thus keeping production times down, productivity up, and its EV tex credit eligibility. There’s no official word on Magna Steyr definitely coming to the U.S., nor is there any word that BMW would join in, but it’s certainly an interesting possibility and it’s worth keeping an eye on.
[Source: Auto News]