DETROIT — Executives at Ford Motor Co. and Mazda Motor Corp. say they will continue to engineer and develop products together — at least for the near term.
"In terms of the working relationship with Mazda, it's not changing at all at this point," Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president of global product development, said here.
Kuzak pointed to two platforms where sharing continues:
-- The new global subcompact, or B-segment, platform that was engineered by Mazda and will underpin the Ford Fiesta going on sale in North America in early 2010.
-- The global compact, or C-segment, platform that underpins the current European Ford Focus and Mazda3.
"If you look at the B- and C-car, which is where we're sharing platforms today, one is in essence brand new, the other is in sort of midcycle," Kuzak said. "Even if we were considering a change, it would be almost beyond our planning horizon at this point."
The questions come nearly two months after Ford reduced its ownership in Mazda from a controlling stake to 13 percent.
But expect more separation over time. The Ford Fusion and Edge, Ford's current North American mid-sized entries, were derived from the Mazda6 platform. Ford now says its next-generation mid-sized vehicles will be based on a global platform developed by Ford in Europe. The new platform will be derived from the current European Mondeo.
Paul Mascarenas, Ford vice president of engineering, told analysts last week: "Going forward, we have much less dependence on platform and powertrain sharing with the Mazda team."