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Mazda to start production at new factory
Last Updated: 2013-11-20 23:13 | Global Times
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Mazda Motor Corp will begin production at its new Mexico factory in January, the carmaker's chief said on Wednesday, describing the plant as a key foreign base for the Japanese company as it pares its reliance on domestic output.

Selling just over a million cars a year and with most of its vehicles built in high-cost Japan, Mazda has struggled to compete with bigger automakers that are 10 times its size.

In the four years leading up to March 2012, the Japanese automaker chalked up combined net losses of almost 250 billion yen ($2.5 billion).

Since losing the backing of Ford Motor Co, which once owned one-third of the Hiroshima-based company, Mazda has drawn closer to Toyota Motor Co, winning access to its hybrid technology. Mazda will also build cars for Toyota at the Mexico plant.

Meanwhile, the company's China chief executive said Mazda had cut its 2013 sales target in the Chinese mainland by 7.5 percent to 185,000 vehicles due to tough competition from its rivals.

Mazda now aims to sell about the same number of vehicles as last year, said Nobuhiko Watabe.

"Competition is fierce and it's not just from the other Japanese carmakers," Watabe told Reuters.

Watabe added that pressure was also coming from other foreign models such as Ford Motor Co's Focus.

"We had hoped to sell 200,000 units this year... but we're now looking at more or less around last year's level at 185,000," Watabe said at the small group interview.

During the first 10 months, Mazda sold a total of 142,571 vehicles in the mainland, down 9.5 percent from a year earlier.

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