Magna International pulled a bold move when it declared its intention to buy
Opel from General Motors, bridging the gap between component supplier and
contract manufacturer on the one hand, to independent automaker on the other. In
the process, Magna jeopardized its relationships with Germany's largest
automakers, including Volkswagen and BMW, who had been keen to do business with
a supplier; less so with a direct competitor.
Daimler sees it another way, however. Not only will Magna continue building the
legendary Gelandewagen for Mercedes-Benz at its facility in Graz, Austria, but
Mercedes also announced that the contractor will make the aluminum body panels
for the recently-unveiled SLS AMG supercar. For its part, Magna is satisfied to
receive the business, naturally, while Mercedes and Daimler chief Dieter Zetsche
says he sees no conflict of interest. Deliveries of the SLS are expected to
begin next spring.