Magna, Ontario team up on green autos

Mon Aug 29, 2011 4:53pm EDT
 
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Magna International and the province of Ontario will invest C$432 million ($441 million) over six years to develop electric vehicle technologies.

The Canadian province, the center of Canada's auto industry, will contribute C$48.4 million to the total, a government spokesman said on Monday.

"We are delighted to receive support from Ontario to pursue our goal of transitioning Canada's automotive design, engineering and manufacturing toward the clean economy," said Magna Chief Executive Don Walker in a release.

The funding will go toward developing electric car concepts, parts for electric cars, lightweight materials and components, and an alternative energy project, creating an estimated 728 new jobs.

Some projects will be overseen by the Aurora, Ontario-based company's E-Car venture, said a Magna spokeswoman. Others will focus on making non-electric cars more efficient.

Magna founder Frank Stronach, who stepped down as chairman earlier this year, holds a 27 percent stake in Magna E-Car.

Ontario is attempting to encourage investment in green technologies in a bid to create jobs and reduce greenhouse gases, as well as to remain a leading jurisdiction for auto and auto parts production.

Earlier this month, Toyota Motor Co said it would build its first electric vehicle manufactured outside of Japan, in Ontario, as part of a multimillion-dollar public-private project announced in July.

Magna introduced an electric car last year designed to showcase the parts and technology it could offer. The company also helped Ford develop its Focus electric car.

Shares of Magna closed up 4.4 percent at C$37.20 on Monday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Euan Rocha and Allison Martell; editing by Rob Wilson and Peter Galloway)

 
<p>Magna International Inc. CFO Vincent Galifi speaks at their Annual Meeting of Shareholders in Markham May 4, 2011. REUTERS/Adrien Veczan</p>