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Thai-built transmissions for Mazda

Thai active: Due to the increasing demand for Mazda’s SkyActiv drivetrains, the Japanese giant will start producing automatic transmissions in Thailand from 2016.

Mazda to produce SkyActiv automatic transmissions in Thailand due to global demand

31 Jan 2013

MAZDA will open a new transmission plant in Thailand to respond to increasing global demand for its SkyActiv powertrains.

The plant will be located about 130 kms from Bangkok in the Chonburi province of Thailand, and will have an annual production capacity of 400,000 units.

Production will commence in March 2016 and the plant will produce SkyActiv automatic transmissions for models produced at Mazda joint venture AutoAlliance’s production facility that is also located in Thailand.

Mazda Australia public relations manager Steve Maciver said it was unlikely that the Thai-made transmissions would end up in any vehicles sold in Australia.

Mr Maciver said that apart from the BT-50 ute range that is currently sourced from Thailand, Mazda Australia had no plans to import any product from the South-East Asian Kingdom.

The Japanese car-maker previously sourced the Mazda2 light car from Thailand for an eight month period in 2010 before switching production back to the Hofu plant in Japan.

Mazda president and CEO Takashi Yamanouchi said the new production facility would allow Mazda to focus on global sales growth.

“Mazda is establishing global production footprints in order to achieve our goal of an annual global sales volume of 1.7 million units by fiscal year ending March 2016,” he said.

“The Nakanoseki district of Hofu Plant will remain the chief production facility for transmissions, but we have decided to establish a second major transmission plant in Thailand’s Chonburi Province.”

Mr Maciver said that Mazda’s recent alliances with other car manufacturers such as Alfa Romeo and Toyota and the new Thai plant were about “trying to improve our global footprint so we are not so reliant on that Japanese manufacturing.”“We have a plant coming on stream in Mexico and another one coming on in Russia and this latest announcement is just the next step towards a more global footprint,” he said.

As Mazda announced the new Thai production plant, it has also been championing the success of its SkyActiv-D diesel technology in Japan.

Mazda is experiencing something of a diesel boom in its home country with 80 per cent of all CX-5 sales in Japan now fitted with SkyActiv diesel engines.

Japanese buyers have previously shied away from diesels with just 0.4 per cent of the entire passenger car market being diesels.

Mazda will also try its luck in another traditionally non-diesel buying country, the US later this year when it releases the Mazda6 later in 2013.

The SkyActiv-D 2.2-litre engine has also been shortlisted for the 2013 International Engine of the Year award in Germany in June.

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