Magna wins contract for next-gen GM truck frames

Mon Nov 23, 2009 4:40pm EST
 
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Magna International said on Monday that it has won a contract to make the third generation of frames for General Motors Co's full-size light-duty pickups and sport utility vehicles.

Magna said it would not disclose the amount of the contract. It said the new frames would replace GM's GMT 900, which is the frame for the big Chevy Suburbans, Tahoes, and Silvarados.

The frames will be built at plants owned by Magna's Cosma unit in St. Thomas, Ontario, and Saltillo, Mexico, which currently make the GMT 900.

"This is the third generation of frame business that we've been awarded by General Motors," said Tracy Fuerst, a Magna spokeswoman. "To keep that business is certainly a win for us."

Magna's St. Thomas plant, which employs around 900 people, has been building truck frames for GM since 1999.

The replacement for the GMT 900 is good news for the southwestern Ontario city of about 35,000, which has seen some big job losses in recent months.

In April, 725 employees were laid off from the Magna plant in response to GM production shutdowns during the automaker's bankruptcy proceedings. Between 500 and 550 of the workers were called back in July.

Ford Motor Co recently said that in 2011 it will close its assembly plant in St. Thomas, where it builds the Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis and the Lincoln Town Car, cutting about 1,400 jobs.

Daimler AG said last fall it would cut its Sterling Truck brand, which had a factory in St. Thomas, also eliminating around 1,400 jobs.

Magna shares ended up 99 Canadian cents, or 1.9 percent, at C$53.92 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Monday.

(Reporting by John McCrank; editing by Rob Wilson)