Bloomberg News

Mazda Resumes Making Mazda3s in China After Six-Month Hiatus

November 05, 2006

Mazda Motor Corp. (7261), Japan's fourth- largest automaker, said it had resumed production of its Mazda3 sedans in China after a half-year suspension. Sales are still suspended.

Changan Ford Mazda Automobile Co. resumed production on Oct. 30, Akira Shigemasa, Mazda's Shanghai-based spokesman, said in a phone interview today. He declined to say when sales would resume or to reveal the company's production plans for the car.

Mazda stopped making Mazda3s in China in April, as the government opposed its strategy of separating production and sales into different ventures, the Nihon Keizai newspaper reported in June, without saying where it got the information.

Shigemasa declined to comment on why production had been halted and on whether the company was changing its strategy in the country. Thomas Yao, Changan Ford Mazda's Chongqing-based spokesman, also declined to provide further details.

Mazda may fail to hit its full-year sales target in China, after sales fell 9.2 percent in the first nine months of the year, amid rising competition, it said in October.

The company had aimed to sell 10 percent more vehicles in the country this year, after the popularity of its Mazda6 sedans bolstered 2005 sales by 51 percent to 133,778 vehicles.

Mazda, a third owned by Ford Motor Co. (F:US), builds five models in China. It bought 15 percent of Changan Ford Mazda from Ford earlier this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tian Ying in Beijing on ytian@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bret Okeson at bokeson@bloomberg.net.


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