"Being able to offer automakers our expertise in the whole vehicle, from the first sketch to production launch and beyond is why we have been saying that Magna is unique in our position," said Günther Apfalter, president of Magna International Europe and Magna Steyr.
Magna's complete-vehicles division has been a bright spot for the Aurora, Ontario, company. The division's revenue in the fourth quarter of 2018 rose 39 percent from the year-earlier period to $1.69 billion, Magna said last week.
The complete-vehicles division is known for its manufacturing — it has built the Mercedes-Benz G class since 1979 in Graz, Austria — but contract engineering has further contributed to the gains.
Beyond its work with VinFast, Magna in 2018 announced two joint ventures to develop electric-vehicle architectures with Beijing Electric Vehicle Co., a subsidiary of BAIC Group. Magna's engineering division sees China and northern Africa as potential growth areas, Apfalter said.
Magna is not manufacturing the crossover or sedan for VinFast, which will handle assembly at a new plant in Dinh Vu, about 50 miles from Hanoi. But licensing some technology from BMW and farming vehicle engineering to Magna has given the Vietnamese upstart early advantages.
"Partnering with individuals who are very good at what they do and have proven track records allows us to develop the product quickly while at the same time bringing up our own internal expertise," VinFast CEO Jim DeLuca told Automotive News in October. "We are doing in 24 months what most OEMs do in 36 to 60."