Mazda begins full production at its new transmission plant near Bangkok, making Thailand the first country outside Japan to serve as a production base for its SkyActiv automatics.
Annual production is set at 400,000 units and, in combination with Hofu Plant in Japan, brings global capacity of the transmissions to 1.54 million units.
The 7.3 billion baht ($207.8 million) Thai plant is fully owned by Mazda.
Mazda’s Representative Director, President and CEO Masamichi Kogai says the engines and transmissions produced by Mazda Powertrain Mfg. (Thailand) will supply production facilities around the world, including Malaysia, Vietnam, Mexico, China and Thailand.
The strong yen has forced Mazda to search for production bases outside Japan, he says, and the company has landed big investments in China, Mexico and Thailand for auto production.
“Because of increasing demand, Mazda needs to raise production at its Chinese and Thai plants rather than in Japan,” Kogai says in a statement.
“Full-scale operation at MPMT has made Thailand the first country outside of Japan where Mazda can carry out comprehensive vehicle production, from engine to transmission to final vehicle assembly,” he says.
“It is no exaggeration to say that, as a production base for Mazda, Thailand is as important as Japan itself.”
Mazda aims to produce 1.49 million vehicles this fiscal year and 1.65 million by the end of the 2016-17 fiscal year.
MPMT President Hidenori Kawakami says Thailand was selected for the plant because of the country’s outstanding supplier network, supportive government policy, excellent workforce and geographic advantage at the center of the ASEAN region.