Mazda confirms next mid-size sedan for U.S. will be built in Japan

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Mazda and Ford have long participated in a joint-venture at the Auto Alliance International facility located in Flat Rock, Michigan. Mazda presently uses the facility to produce the Mazda6, while Ford pumps out the Mustang. We heard rumblings that Mazda was looking to pull out of the partnership, and now those rumors have a bit more teeth. Mazda has announced that its next mid-size sedan will be produced at the Hofu plant in Japan.

Currently, the Mazda6 (also known as the Atenza) is built at AAI, Hofu and at China's FAW Car Co. Mazda is going to continue to build the current Mazda6 at those three locations. Production of the next-generation car will be transferred from AAI to Hofu.

Importantly, Mazda they are examining other opportunities with Ford, so as to continue participating in the joint venture at AAI.
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Next Midsize Car for North America To Be Built in Hofu, Japan

HIROSHIMA, Japan-Mazda Motor Corporation has announced that the company will build its next midsize car (CD-car) for the North American market at its Hofu Plant in Yamaguchi prefecture, Japan, as part of ongoing efforts to increase global manufacturing efficiencies.

"Currently, production of the Mazda6 (known as Atenza in Japan) exists in three locations: at our Hofu Plant in Japan, AutoAlliance International (AAI) in Michigan, USA, and at FAW Car Co., Ltd. in Changchun, Jilin province, China. Our intention is to transfer production of our next CD-car for North America from AAI and consolidate it at Hofu in order to improve production and investment efficiencies and optimize our business," said Takashi Yamanouchi, Representative Director and Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of Mazda Motor Corporation. "The decision was made after carefully assessing all risks and opportunities, including global needs, changing demand in North America, and exchange rate exposure. Going forward, Mazda will strive to maintain and grow our business in America.

"The decision to relocate to Hofu and consolidate the production of the next CD-car, makes the most sense for our business," stated Mr. Yamanouchi. "However, we are committed to working with Ford, our joint venture partner in AAI, to identify potential future opportunities for the plant. Mazda and Ford have enjoyed a close relationship for over 30 years. We have collaborated on projects where there are mutual benefits, and both companies remain committed to continuing this strategic partnership."

The current North American Mazda6 will continue to be built at AAI until the end of its current cycle plan. Mazda is conducting various studies with Ford on the future of AAI and will announce details at the appropriate time.

AAI was established as Mazda Motor Manufacturing (USA) Corporation in 1985. It became a joint venture between Mazda Motor Corporation and Ford Motor Company in 1992, when the name was changed to AutoAlliance International, Inc. Since production commenced in1987, the facility has produced over 1.7 million Mazda vehicles, including the Mazda MX-6, Mazda 626 and the Mazda6. Mazda6 production began at AAI in 2002, and to date the facility has built over 500,000 units. The Mazda6 went on sale in 2002 as the first of Mazda's new generation products to personify the Zoom-Zoom brand message, and it has continued to gain a strong following ever since.

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