SHANGHAI — Magna Steyr AG is riding two automotive trends in China.
It is developing an engineering services staff, aiming to offer inexpensive Chinese engineering to global carmakers. And it is helping Chinese automakers prepare to export their vehicles, thus putting more pressure on global carmakers to become more competitive.
In May 2006, Magna Steyr had only 10 people in its China operations. That has mushroomed to nearly 100. And that number will keep growing as it expands both prongs of its China strategy.
By 2010, Magna Steyr aims to have the ability to develop complete cars for automakers worldwide, using Chinese engineers to take advantage of their lower costs. The starting salary for an engineer in China can be 60 percent less than in Europe, says Markus Gran, regional manager for Great China.
Chinese engineers already are doing work for Magna Steyr projects in Austria and France.
"This is our way of globalization," Gran says.
Meanwhile, the company aids a growing number of Chinese automakers who seek to export to western Europe and the United States.
"Chinese automakers are trying to raise their quality," Gran says. "They are also willing to spend more on engineering."