Mazda stops making cars in the U.S. image

Mazda has stopped production in the U.S. at the Flat Rock plant, co-owned by the Japanese carmaker and Ford.

Both companies will maintain the 50-50 stake in the Flat Rock facility, where Ford intends to build the Fusion starting in 2013. Ford will invest $550 million in order to prepare the Fusion production.

The Auto Alliance plant in Flat Rock, Michigan, has stopped making the Mazda6, which will continue to be manufactured in Japan. Mazda will move its North America production to Salamanca, Mexico, starting early next year, where it will build the Mazda2 and Mazda3 subcompact and compact cars.

Thanks to Ford stepping in with production of the Fusion, no workers from Flat Rock will remain without jobs. However, the fact that Mazda retained 50 percent of the plant may indicate a future return for the Japanese carmaker to making cars in the U.S.

“The alliance has been and continues to be an effective way to utilize the resources of both organizations and maximize joint synergies. We continue to study various possibilities for the future of AAI, but we don’t have anything to announce at this time,” said Ford spokesman Todd Nissen.

The Flat Rock plant has produced in the past models including the Mustang, the Probe or the Cougar.