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Mazda Motor Corp. said Wednesday that assembly of its Mazda3 car has started in Thailand and Malaysia.

“We have great expectations that the locally produced Mazda3 will drive the Mazda brand forward in the rapidly growing Thai and Malaysian markets,” Yuji Nakamine, Mazda’s managing executive officer in charge of overseas sales, said in a press release.

Mazda’s local distributor in Malaysia, Bermaz Motor, plans to roll out 3,000 units of the Mazda3 at an assembly plant run by a local firm, the Japanese automaker said.

Bermaz Motor, which sells Mazda3 models imported from Japan, has shifted to local production in expectation of higher sales in Malaysia.

Mazda also said its local distributor in Thailand, Mazda Sales (Thailand) Co., has started assembly of the Mazda3 at AutoAlliance (Thailand) Co., Mazda’s local joint venture with Ford Motor Co.

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