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Autoline On Autoblog With John McElroy

At a time when car companies are putting more emphasis on the interior craftsmanship of their cars, several of the supplier companies which dominate the interiors business are running for the exits, or are getting ready to.

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Automotive component supplier Magna International has signed an agreement to take over the Getrag Group, one of the biggest transmission manufacturers, by the end of the year, in a deal worth nearly $2 billion.

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Jaguar Land Rover has announced a new contract manufacturing deal with Magna Steyr that will see a future product assembled in Austria in about two years from now.

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The Magna Steyr Mila Plus is pretty darn cool, if you ask us, and well worth the time you'll spend checking it out in our high-res gallery of live photos from Geneva.

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Magna has an established record of showcasing its capabilities through the MILA series of concepts at the Geneva Motor Show, and this year will be revealing the hybrid MILA Plus sports car seen here.

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Few things match the joy of open-roofed motoring. The wind runs through your hair, the sun beats down and the trees flash overhead, and it's then that you realize that this elemental experience is just better than being permanently ensconced in stylized cage of steel and glass. Unfortunately for a lot of convertible manufacturers, consumers are unaware of this truth.

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An explosion at a Magna International divisional plant in Newmarket, ON, a manufacturing facility for Dortec Industries, occurred on Wednesday afternoon. Some nine people were injured in the accident and five or six (reports vary) were sent to the hospital. Magna has reported that all workers have since been released from the hospital.

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The Touchskin interface has beeen on display since last October; now it's at a stage where Magna is shopping it to automakers. Although Magna is the marquee name, the various components that comprise Touchskin are produced by nine companies: Plastic Electronics, Engel Mould Technologies, Schöfer, Magna Exteriors and Interiors, Hueck, Niebling, Votteler, Hennecke Polyurethane and formquadrat.

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Flex4 may sound like something sold during the 3 a.m. hour on advertorial television, but it's really Magna's part-time all-wheel drive system that offers the benefits of AWD with lower emissions than standard AWD. How? Because Flex4 can disengage the power going to the rear wheels when it determines that it isn't needed, changing the vehicle to a more-efficient two-wheel-drive ride. The AWD is also engaged every time the vehicle stops and, most of the time, when the vehicle goes above 30 miles

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Please excuse us while we banish thoughts of David Letterman's hosting of Oscar night – Magna; MILA... Uma; Oprah – and instead focus on what this concept car brings to the table. This is the sixth MILA Concept from Magna-Steyr, the Austrian arm of Canadian auto parts giant Magna International, and it's meant to showcase the capabilities of the supplier.

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Magna Steyr may not be a name most consumers would recognize, but it is one of the biggest players in the auto industry. As a contract manufacturer, it has produced some 2.5 million vehicles across 21 different models, including the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, Aston Martin Rapide and Mini Countryman, to name just a few.

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While the 2014 Chevrolet Equinox may offer the eAssist hybrid system, there's now word that the Detroit giant has already built a nine-strong all-electric demonstration fleet of its super-popular crossover. Calling on the E-Car Systems unit of Magna to do the technological heavy lifting – the same folks who helped Ford develop its Focus Electric – and with a little financial help from the Ontario government, the project is intended to give both GM and Magna some insight into how vehi

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Joint venture Chery Quantum Auto – owned by China's Chery Automobile and Israel Corporation – will reportedly export three compact vehicles to Europe in 2012. Austrian supplier Magna Steyr will be tasked with developing the vehicles, according to Financial Times Deutschland.

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General Motors halted production at six of its plants last week after a fire at Magna International interrupted the companies' supply of interior parts. The conflagration also halted production at the AutoAlliance International Ford-Mazda joint-venture plant in Flat Rock, Michigan, and Automotive News says that Mustang production there won't resume until Friday, March 11. AN does not give a timeframe for when the Mazda6, also produced at AutoAlliance, will head back into production.

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BAIC C71EV – Click above for high-res image gallery

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Coulomb Technologies, along with partner Aker Wade Power Technologies, is now taking orders for the ChargePoint CT3000 networked DC fast-charge stations. Deliveries of the CT3000 will commence early next year. The CT3000 offers the convenience of 30-minute charging and is designed to accommodate the proposed CHAdeMO standard, which supplies up to 62.5 kilowatts of DC power through its specialized connector.

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Speaking at a symposium on electric vehicles (EVs) in Toronto, the vice president of Magna E-Car Systems, Dave Pascoe, admitted that even though numerous automakers have committed to producing EVs, the likelihood that these vehicles will have broad appeal depends almost entirely on the price of gasoline. Pascoe believes that high up-front costs will restrict sales of battery-powered vehicles unless the cost of gasoline tops C$1.36 per liter ($5 a gallon U.S. at the current exchange rate.)

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GS Yuasa, the lithium-ion battery maker that recently dissolved its joint venture (JV) with Sanyo, is now eying the possibility of setting up shop with the assistance of Mitsubishi Corp. and Magna International Inc. The Nikkei reports that GS Yuasa will hold a majority stake in a new joint venture that's aimed at boosting lithium-ion battery production in Europe. Magna will reportedly hold a 20-40-percent share in the JV and Mitsubishi the remainder.

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Magna International, the world's third-largest automotive parts producer, announced its intentions to establish a new global unit, E-Car Systems, at this year's EcoXperience ride & drive track at the Detroit Auto Show. Now, Magna has opened the doors of its new hybrid and electric vehicle (EV) system development center and battery testing facility in Auburn Hills, Michigan.

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