The partnership between Magna Exteriors and Interiors, an operating unit of automotive supplier Magna International Inc, and National Research Council Canada (NRC) will aim to support the Canadian automotive industry in developing 'next-generation' vehicles that are safer, affordable, environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient.

As part of the collaboration, a Magna-NRC Composite Centre of Excellence will be created at the Magna Exteriors and Interiors facility in Concord, Ontario, Canada.

"Automotive suppliers and original equipment manufacturers that lead the industry in innovation and productivity know that vehicles of the future will need more composite content in order to provide the fuel economy, utility and safety that consumers demand," says Bob Brownlee, President, Magna Exteriors and Interiors. "The Magna-NRC Composite Centre of Excellence will help reinforce Magna's position as a supplier of lightweight, cost-effective composite solutions to the global automotive market."

The Composite Centre of Excellence will be equipped with moulding equipment for thermoplastic composites and teams from Magna and NRC will work together on developing lightweight, durable automotive parts using materials such as long fibre thermoplastics and sheet moulding compound (SMC).

Joint project work in composites will begin immediately, and the new research facility is expected to be operational in summer 2010.

"Research and development in the Canadian automotive sector will enhance our research capacity, fuelling made-in-Canada innovation, and generate economic opportunities for Canadian communities," said the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, when announcing the new initiative. "This new innovative partnership will increase our ability to compete internationally, bring long-term benefits to the auto sector and create jobs for Canadians."

The National Research Council (NRC) is the Government of Canada's main organisation for research and development.