The Japanese company will begin production at its new Mexico factory in January, according to the carmaker’s chief, which described the plant as a key foreign base for Mazda as it pares its reliance on domestic output.
Selling just over a million cars a year and with most of its vehicles built in high-cost Japan, Mazda has struggled to compete with bigger automakers that are 10 times its size. In the four years to March 2012, the company chalked up combined net losses of nearly 250 billion yen ($2.5 billion).
“I just visited the Mexican plant and all preparations are complete,” Mazda’s head, Masamichi Kogai said at a press conference at the Tokyo Motor Show. “This factory will become a crucial overseas base for Mazda,” he added.
Since losing the backing of Ford Motor Co, the American giant which once owned a third of the Hiroshima-based company, Mazda has drawn closer to Toyota Motor Co – the world’s biggest automaker – winning access to its hybrid technology. Mazda will also build cars for Toyota at the Mexico plant.