“Our intention is to transfer production of our next CD-car for North America from AAI and consolidate it at Hofu in order to improve production and investment efficiencies and optimize our business," said Takashi Yamanouchi, President and CEO of Mazda Motor Co. Mazda established the AAI plant in 1985 but it became a 50-50 joint venture between the Japanese automaker and Ford Motor Company in 1992. Its name was changed to AutoAlliance International, Inc after that. Over the years, the facility has churned out more than 1.7 million Mazda vehicles, including the MX-6 and 626. The factory also produces the Ford Mustang.
The Japanese automaker said it will continue to work with its former owner Ford, but didn’t go into specific details. “We are committed to working with Ford, our joint venture partner in AAI, to identify potential future opportunities for the plant,” said Yamanouchi. “Mazda and Ford have enjoyed a close relationship for over 30 years. We have collaborated on projects where there are mutual benefits, and both companies remain committed to continuing this strategic partnership."
Over the years, manufacturers have de-centralised their production so that the factory can be closer to the market to reduce shipping cost. However, such as practice will reduce economy of scale. Ultimately, a balance has to be striked and Mazda has made that choice now.