With fluctuations in international currencies and rising shipping costs to take into account, foreign automakers can't get away with building cars overseas and selling them in North America as easily as they used to. Particularly with inexpensive mainstream models. And given the benefits of cheaper labor and free trade under NAFTA, many have opted to assemble their cars for the North American market in Mexico. That's why the likes of Toyota, Mercedes and BMW have all opened plants in Mexico. And now Mazda has followed suit.

Ground was initially broken for Mazda de Mexico Vehicle Operations at Salamanca in the state of Gunajuato back in 2011, but production has just now gotten under way. The first vehicle to roll off the line? A Mazda3 sedan destined for the United States. Soon, the plant will begin production of the next Mazda2 as well, selling it alongside its larger counterpart across the Americas and in Europe as production expands to 230,000 units annually. For more information, see the official press release below.
Show full PR text
MAZDA STARTS PRODUCTION AT NEW PLANT IN MEXICO
First model off the line is all-new Mazda3 sedan for the USA

Hiroshima, Japan, 7 January 2014: Mazda Motor Corporation today announced that production has begun at its new plant in Mexico. The plant, named Mazda de Mexico Vehicle Operation* (MMVO), is located in Salamanca, in the state of Guanajuato. The first model produced was the all-new Mazda3 sedan for the US market.

Regarding the commencement of production, Keishi Egawa, Mazda's Managing Executive Officer in charge of New Emerging Market Operation (Latin America) and President and CEO of Mazda Motor Manufacturing de Mexico, S.A. de C.V. (Mazda de Mexico Vehicle Operation), said; "We have sent over 150 engineers and supervisors to Mazda's plants in Hiroshima and Hofu, and made every effort to ensure that we are manufacturing products of the highest quality here at MMVO.

"With the start of mass production, we now have a system capable of offering vehicles of the same high quality as those made in Japan, on a global scale, and that is extremely gratifying. We are committed to continue our efforts to contribute to the growth of Mexico's economy through the production of vehicles and the development of personnel who support and lead the automobile industry here."

Mazda has sold approximately 180,000 vehicles in Mexico since it entered the market in 2005. The brand is highly regarded, and in 2013 sold a record 33,000 units in the country. In addition to the USA, MMVO will produce the all-new Mazda3 for other countries in the Americas and for Europe. Moving forward, Mazda intends to strengthen its production system in Mexico and expand the production model line-up to include the Mazda2.

Mazda in Mexico

2005 Entered the Mexican market
2011 September: Established MMVO, a joint venture with Sumitomo Corporation
October: Groundbreaking ceremony for MMVO
2012 September: Seita Kanai, then Mazda's Representative Director and Executive Vice President, made Honorary Consul of the United Mexican States in Hiroshima
2013 January: Announced plan to increase production capacity at MMVO to 230,000 units annually in fiscal year (ending March 2016)
April: Takashi Yamanouchi, then Mazda's Representative Director and Chairman of the Board, President and CEO, awarded the Order of the Aztec Eagle
2014 January: Production begins
October: Operations scheduled to begin at engine machining factory


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