Mazda Offers Buyouts to Employees as Earnings Decline image

Mazda Motor Corp., Japan’s most unprofitable automaker is offering an unspecified number of voluntary buyout packages to employees in an attempt to cut losses.

This announcement comes after Japan disclosed an estimated loss of $1.2 billion for the fiscal year, Mazda’s biggest loss in over 11 years. In addition, dismissals are possible as a next step if too few workers leave voluntarily, a spokesman for the company said.

Mazda North American Chief Executive Jim O’Sullivan cited a “challenging business environment” as the reason for the restructuring.

Interesting is however, that among Mazda’s five regions, only North America has posted a vehicle sales increase in the first three quarters of the fiscal year. U.S. sales are up 48 percent this calendar year through February.

Last year, Mazda announced it will build its next generation Mazda6 in Japan instead of at the Flat Rock plant. Mazda is partners with Ford at the plant, which also builds the Ford Mustang.

The Japanese automaker has 701 U.S. employees.