“The key to success in business is really pretty simple: make a better product for a better price.”
Frank Stronach’s work ethic and business acumen turned a garage-based tool and die shop into one of the world’s largest and most successful automotive suppliers. Stronach was born in 1932 in Styria, Austria. He left school at 14 to apprentice as a tool and die maker and, in 1954, left his homeland for North America. His first job was washing dishes at a hospital and eventually he moved to Toronto, Ontario, where he found work as a toolmaker.
In 1957, Stronach launched his own business, Multimatic Investments Ltd. To get it off the ground, he rented a small garage, worked 16-hour days, and slept on a cot in the corner of the shop. The company steadily grew and, within two years, employed 20 people. In 1959, Multimatic received its first automotive contract: an order from General Motors to produce metal stamped sun visor brackets. In 1969, Multimatic acquired Magna Electronics and the company was renamed Magna International Inc. in 1973. Stronach accelerated his company’s growth by sharing profits and ownership with managers and employees. He believed that if they were given a tangible stake in the company’s success, they would be more motivated to produce a better product for a better price. He called this profit- and equity-sharing philosophy “Fair Enterprise”. In the decades that followed, Magna expanded across North America and Europe and widened its operations to include complete interior and exterior systems integration, body stamping, and frame manufacturing. In 1999, Forbes Magazine named Magna the world’s top automotive supplier. Today, Magna’s operations encompass nearly every aspect of automobile engineering and production.
In 2008, Magna became the largest automotive parts supplier in North America with annual sales of over $20 billion. At the time of his induction, the company Frank Stronach started in a rented garage employed 172,000 people in more than 450 manufacturing and R&D centers in 28 countries.