Magna and GACC partner to produce composite liftgates

Joint venture enables mass production of composite liftgates for fast-growing market.

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On April 2 Magna (Shanghai, China) announced it has entered into a joint venture (JV) with GAC subsidiary, GAC Component Co., Ltd. (GACC, Guangzhou, China), to begin production of composite liftgates for a global automaker’s crossover vehicle starting in late 2018. The JV will work out of a new 55,900 ft2 facility located in Changsha, China, with an estimated 116 employees at the start.

“We’re seeing tremendous demand for advanced material innovations as manufacturers pursue all opportunities to take weight out of vehicles to meet emissions requirements,” says Magna Exteriors president Grahame Burrow. “I am very pleased we have formed this JV with GAC Component as it provides great opportunities for future growth in liftgates and other lightweight exterior products going forward.”

Lightweight, fully recyclable, composite liftgates are particularly beneficial as demand for crossover and sport utility vehicles remains high globally. These liftgate modules can achieve up to 25% mass savings over steel versions and are delivered as complete assemblies to the customer. Composite materials allow for greater design flexibility with deeper draws and tighter radii. Additional benefits of Magna’s full-system assembly and delivery approach include reduced complexity of the total liftgate module, lower tooling investment and increased throughput at the assembly plant.

“Magna’s expertise in advanced materials and manufacturing, combined with GAC Component’s deep connection in the world’s largest automotive market, certainly ensures the strength of this strategic partnership,” adds Burrow.

Earlier this year, the company launched one of the largest-volume thermoplastic liftgates on the 2018 Jeep Cherokee, which is sold in the US.