Magna International Inc. confirms it has an agreement to purchase the Eurostar assembly plant in Graz, Austria, from DaimlerChrysler AG for an undisclosed price. The deal should close in summer. Chrysler Group President and CEO Dieter Zetsche says the sale will save DC significant money. Magna needed the capacity to build the BMW X3 cross/utility vehicle, at an annual volume of up to 100,000 units.

Chrysler minivan production will move from Eurostar next door to the existing Magna Steyr vehicle assembly plant. The current contract calls for Magna to produce 40,000 Voyagers a year until 2006. Some 800 Eurostar employees will continue to produce Voyager. The remaining 1,200 Eurostar employees may join a “trust” and will be paid while training for X3 production. Magna also has a $50 million development contract with DC for a new vehicle. Steyr CEO Siegfried Wolf says the car will be produced in the U.S. Meanwhile, Magna plans a summer review of a proposal to merge Steyr with its Tesma division.