Mazda is taking the steps necessary to right its financial ship, but when a patient has this kind of issue, the cure can hurt just as much. The small, independent carmaker has been hurt by its relatively Japan-centric manufacturing base and the strength of the yen, the loss of Ford as a noteworthy stakeholder and the resulting loss of financial cushion. Mazda is expected to post a $1.2 billion loss for its 2011 financial year, which is smaller than earlier estimates but it's still the fourth losing year in a row and the largest in a decade.
The need to act has forced Mazda North America into a five-month plan to shed a number of its 701 employees for leaner running. Select employees will be offered a buyout package, and if voluntary uptake isn't sufficient then involuntary dismissals will occur. The timeline begins this month with lump-sum offers, followed by layoffs at the end of May if necessary, and the stretch to August will see the transition of personnel into the restructured organization.
Mazda is also issuing shares to raise $1.9 billion in order to aid its position and get production started in Mexico and Thailand. It is also aggressively seeking a partner and considering licensing its SkyActiv technology.