DEARBORN, Mich. — Ford Motor Co. will start producing its own vehicles at a Mazda Motor Corp. plant in Japan early in the next century, Wayne Booker, Ford vice chairman, said July 14.
However, he did not disclose the kind of model Ford plans to produce in Japan. “I cannot make an announcement as to what we are exactly going to do in the Japanese plant,” he said.
If the plan goes ahead, it will be the first time for Ford-developed cars to be built at a Mazda plant in Japan. Mazda currently produces a number of vehicles that are sold under the Ford brand name, such as the Festiva, at its two plants in Japan. However, these vehicles were actually designed and developed by Mazda.
Mazda has been experiencing difficulties with sluggish sales, excess capacity and a huge debt burden. Last year, Ford raised its equity stake in Mazda to 33.4 percent.
In an effort to reduce product development costs, the two firms have also agreed to synchronize product cycles and share a number of components, including engines and transmissions, for future models. Booker said Mazda has made substantial progress in restructuring its business in the last two years, and Ford currently has no plan to further increase its equity stake in Mazda.