TOKYO – Mazda Motor Corp. is looking to build a new overseas factory to supply emerging markets and expects it to boost global sales to about 2 million units, from 1.2 million today.
CEO Takashi Yamanouchi said the export-dependent Japanese automaker was considering Brazil, India and Russia. But Mazda has not made any decision about building yet, he said. The automaker currently does not sell cars in India and Russia.
“We are doing some urgent studies of those markets,” Yamanouchi said at a Dec. 6 press event.
Mazda aims for a 42 percent increase in global sales of 1.7 million units by 2015. But that figure excludes the impact of a new assembly plant for emerging markets. Yamanouchi said bringing such a plant online would boost worldwide volume by another 300,000 units.
Japan's Nikkei business daily reported last week that Mazda and trading house Sumitomo Corp. would spend up to 40 billion yen ($484.9 million) to build a new plant in Mexico that could open as soon as 2013. It would be Mazda's fourth overseas assembly plant, following joint manufacturing operations with Ford Motor Co. in the United States, Thailand and China.
That plant would reportedly supply cars to Brazil and the rest of Latin America. Yamanouchi would not confirm the report, but he said Mazda had sent teams to study other emerging markets.
At the same time, Mazda expects to make better use of its two assembly plants in Japan.
Currently, Mazda exports about 80 percent of its output in Japan. But as sales increase over the next five years, the portion of exports is expected to grow to 85 percent. The fortification of exports from Japan comes despite the yen's surging exchange rate against such currencies as the dollar and euro. That tends to undercut the value of overseas sales repatriated home.
Mazda manufactures about 900,000 cars annually in Japan. But under its 2015 sales target, it would have to lift domestic production to 1.05 million vehicles, the Mazda chief said.
“You might think this is going counter to the trend of what the appreciating yen would dictate,” Yamanouchi said. “But we think that the best way to achieve efficiency is to fully utilize facilities we already have in Japan.”