Resolving ongoing rumors about the future home of its mid-size sedan, Mazda has officially announced that it will transfer production of the MAZDA6 from Flat Rock, Michigan, to its domestic plant in Hofu, Japan, when the current model cycle ends. While no specific timing for the transition was given, it's expected to take place sometime in mid-2012.
Mazda presently builds this front-drive four door at the AutoAlliance International facility, which was created in 1985 by Mazda Motor Manufacturing USA in 1985 and became a joint venture between Mazda Motor Corporation and Ford Motor Company in 1992. In addition to the MAZDA6, AAI also turns out the Ford Mustang. Besides AAI and Hofu, the MAZDA6 is currently being manufactured at a plant in China.
Takashi Yamanouchi, Representative Director and Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of Mazda Motor Corporation, said that the decision was made "to improve production and investment efficiencies and optimize our business," and came only after a careful assessment of risks and opportunities. He indicated that the move reflects the automaker's concerns about future global needs, changing North American demand and exchange rate exposure. However, Yamanouchi also indicated that Mazda anticipates maintaining some type of a continuing U.S. manufacturing presence.
"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."