As it announced third quarter results, Magna International said founder and honorary chairman Frank Stronach would be leaving the board immediately.

Chairman Bill Young thanked Stronach “for his enormous contribution to Magna’s success over the past six decades”.

Stronach said: “It has been two years since control of Magna has changed hands and, in that time, I have become involved in numerous activities outside of the automotive industry. One of these activities involves politics in Austria and I do not want my political views to be confused with my role on Magna’s board. As a result, I feel the time is right to step down as a member.

“Of course, as honorary chairman, I will always be available to provide any guidance that management or the board requires.”

The Aurora, Ontario-based company which Stronach, as an Austrian toolmaker immigrant to Canada, founded, said third quarter sales rose 6% year on year to US$7.4bn as vehicle production increased 15% in North America and declined 7% in western Europe. North American and rest of world production sales, as well as tooling, engineering and other sales increased, while European production sales and complete vehicle assembly sales decreased.

Complete vehicle assembly sales fell 6% to $620m as volume fell 9% to around 29,000 units.

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Adjusted EBIT increased 23% to $352m. Income from operations before income taxes was $500m, net income attributable to Magna International was $390m and earnings per share $1.66, increases of $336m, $288m and $1.24, respectively.

Nine-month sales also rose 6% – to $22.8bn as vehicle production increased 20% to 11.6m units in North America and decreased 7% to 9.6m units in western Europe.

Complete vehicle assembly sales decreased 10% to $1.9bn with volume off 8% to about 92,000 units.

Adjusted EBIT increased 22% to $1.3bn, income from operations before income taxes was $1.4bn, net income attributable to Magna International was $1.1bn and earnings per share $4.60, increases of $483m, $376m and $1.71, respectively.