Magna was started by self-made Austrian billionaire Frank Stronach as a tool and die company 50 years ago in Canada.
Today it is the third-biggest and most diversified car parts company in the world.
If Magna is successful in its bid for Opel it will have successfully reached its ambition to make the jump to fully-fledged car maker.
Magna has suffered in the present global economic climate like the rest of the car industry, but it is believed to have around $1.7 billion (£1 billion) of reserves.
The firm already counts most manufacturers as its customers – from Aston Martin to Volvo – and it is determined to continue working with them even if it becomes a car maker in its own right.
It already has complete vehicle engineering and assembly operations in Graz, Austria, and in 2008 recorded global sales of $23.7 billion (£14.7 billion).
Eastern Europe and Russia are seen as growth markets for Magna, and by partnering with Russian bank Sberbank Rossii and Russian carmaker Gaz on the estimated 700 million euro (£612 million) Opel bid expanding into these areas could become easier.