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Mazda Motor Corp. said Thursday its global production will be cut by 7,000 vehicles in February from its initial plan, as it will not be able to procure enough chips for key safety and environmental technology amid a global shortage.

The automaker will review its production plan for the fiscal year through March 2021 to factor in the impact of the chip supply crunch, Mazda chief executive Akira Marumoto said at a news conference on its latest earnings report.

The February output shortfall is equivalent to 0.7% of its worldwide shipment plan for the current fiscal year. A Mazda spokesman said the company was not sure if the supply shortage would affect production beyond February.

The Hiroshima Prefecture-based company is the latest carmaker hit by the semiconductor shortage, joining a slew of global automakers such as Toyota Motor Corp. and Volkswagen AG facing production cuts.

General Motors Co. said Wednesday that it will scale back production at four plants in the United States, Canada, Mexico and South Korea starting Monday, adding that the supply shortage is expected to continue for one year.

More chips are now being installed in vehicles as automakers are stepping up development of advanced technology to improve or eliminate exhaust emissions and prevent autonomous vehicle collisions.

The supply bottleneck partly reflects rising demand for chips for smartphones and 5G network equipment, and comes at a crucial time when some automakers are expecting their earnings to pick up from declines stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.

Mazda said the same day it is now expecting a narrower net loss of ¥50 billion for the current fiscal year, as its cost-cutting efforts have been paying off and sales of models with higher profit margins are growing. It previously projected a net loss of ¥90 billion.

In the nine months ended December, the company posted a net loss of ¥78.25 billion, compared with a net profit of ¥32.38 billion in the same period a year earlier. Sales in the April-December period dropped 23% to ¥1.96 trillion.

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