Mazda Sees Return to Profit

Will open plant in Mexico

Mazda Motor Corp., which ranks fifth among Japanese carmakers in terms of volume, expects to score a group net profit of one billion yen (US$12 million) in the business year to March 2012.

In the previous year Mazda incurred a net loss of 60.04 billion yen as the impact of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami ravaged production at the end of the fourth quarter.

The automaker expects operating profit in the current year to decline to 20 billion yen from 23.84 billion yen and sales to fall to 2.19 trillion yen from 2.33 trillion yen. Mazda delayed its forecast as it assessed the impact of the earthquake and tsunami that crippled supply chains and led to power shortages that stymied production.

The company announced it will build assembly and engine facilities in Mexico that will eventually employ 3,000 people. The Mexico production facility will be established as a compact vehicle manufacturing hub mainly for Central and South America, and will include both vehicle and engine assembly plants. The factories will be constructed in Salamanca, 155 miles northwest of Mexico City, with operations starting in the year to March 2014.

The facility will have an annual capacity of 140,000 units, producing Mazda2 and Mazda3 models.

Earlier this month Mazda said it would move car production from Michigan to its domestic plant, leaving the company with no manufacturing base in North America. The company is expected to cover its sales in the U.S .market with imports from Japan and shipments from the new plant in Mexico.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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