Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Mazda 3 Goes Into Production in China

CHONGQING, China — Changan-Ford has begun assembling the Mazda 3 at its plant here in China's largest inland city, with sales to begin in late March.

To date, Mazda vehicles have been produced in partnership with another Chinese automaker, First Auto Works. FAW and its subsidiaries assemble versions of the Mazda 6 and Premacy, as well as the old 323 Familia. Last year, Mazda sold a record 133,000 cars in China, up 50 percent from 2004, and has targeted annual sales of 300,000 units by 2010.

Changan-Ford builds the Ford Focus, which shares its basic chassis design with the Mazda 3. To cement its new alliance, Mazda, which is controlled by Ford, is expected to take a minority stake in the Changan-Ford joint venture. The partners also are constructing a new factory in Nanjing to build Ford and Mazda vehicles for the Chinese market, beginning in 2007.

Although the Mazda 3 will be produced by Changan-Ford, it will be sold through the FAW-Mazda sales network. Eventually, Changan-Ford will take an equity stake in the FAW-Mazda sales compact.


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