Magna Steyr may be one of the most significant automakers you’ve (likely) never heard of.

There are no Magna Steyr dealers, and it doesn’t sell directly to the public, but if you’re an automaker, the company is at the top of your call list when engineering services or contract production are needed.

Mercedes-Benz’s 4Matic all-wheel-drive system was developed by Magna Steyr, and the company has built cars as diverse as the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, the Peugeot RCZ and the MINI Countryman.

Now Magna Steyr has been tasked with building an entry-level compact offering from luxury brand Infiniti. To test the waters before awarding the contract, Infiniti previously engaged Magna Steyr with vaguely-worded “engineering assignments.”

As for what the new compact vehicle may be, or even how it will be powered, Infiniti isn’t saying. The automaker is reportedly working on an electric subcompact, but there's no indication that this is the same vehicle.

Calling it an “important product,” Nissan executive vice president Andy Palmer said, “This new vehicle represents a significant opportunity for the Infiniti brand to reach new consumers and grow in key markets such as Western Europe.”

Expect it to use a version of the MFA front-wheel-drive platform developed for the new Mercedes A Class and B Class models, thanks to the cooperative agreement between Nissan and Daimler.

For its part, Magna Steyr is “delighted” to enter into its first production agreement with Infiniti, or for that matter, Nissan. It the project stays on track, production is scheduled to begin in 2014.


Follow GreenCarReports on Facebook and Twitter.