Japan Newspaper: Mazda Leaving Flat Rock’s AutoAlliance Plant

FLAT ROCK (WWJ/AP) – A newspaper in Japan is reporting Mazda may be pulling out of the AutoAlliance plant in Flat Rock.

According to the Nikkei Financial Daily, unnamed sources said Mazda Motor Corp. plans to leave its joint venture with Ford Motor Co. and stop building cars in the U.S.

Mazda cars sold in the U.S. will be shipped from Japan and Mexico starting around 2013, according to the Nikkei.

Mazda and Ford have operated the AutoAlliance International plant in Michigan as a 50-50 partnership since 1979, but their shared ownerships have been being pared down in recent years.

Citing unnamed company sources, the Nikkei said Mazda is considering selling its stake to Ford as the Japanese automaker tries to restructure its global production.

Mazda issued a short statement Friday saying the report was not based on information it had released, though earlier this year Mazda’s CFO did tell reporters in Tokyo that Japan’s number two auto maker would be taking a hard look at its Flat Rock operation.

The company is in talks with Ford about the future of the joint venture but said it cannot announce details at this time.

Mazda makes its Mazda6 midsize sedan at the plant, while Ford makes its Mustang there. AutoAlliance produced about 54,000 vehicles last year by over 2,600 hourly and salaried workers.

The Associated press contributed to this report.


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