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Auto Alley: Magna International to open new $50 million plant in Chatham, Ont.

Chatham, Ontario — Not one to be left out of the recent Ontario manufacturing mayhem, Magna International has announced its plans to build a new auto parts plant in the southwestern city of Chatham.

The global auto parts supplier expects the new $50 million facility to employ 150 people who will make battery enclosures for the Ford F-150 Lightning pickup truck.

This new facility will represent Magna’s third foothold in southwest Ontario’s automotive manufacturing corridor, after the company’s two plants in St. Thomas.

According to general manager of Magna’s Formet Industries plant in St. Thomas, Phil Page, the company began looking to expand after a boom in demand that “couldn’t be contained within our four walls here in St. Thomas.”

“We were looking for the right size building based on the volume increase and we fell upon Chatham, which worked for us as far as the location of the building and the resources,” said Page.

Magna’s St. Thomas plants have been building battery enclosures in February and still have another 30,000 due for production this year.

The company plans to take over the former Crown Metal Packaging plant in Chatham, making use of the 15,794-square-metre production space that has laid dormant since 2015. Page expects equipment to start being moved in at some point in June and for production to begin by late fall.

Chatham-Kent economic development manager, Jamie Rainbird, voiced enthusiasm for the Magna’s plans in the city, saying that this decision will “open up a door that I’m excited to have open.”

“I can’t stress how excited we are to have (Magna) here,” said Rainbard.

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