Mazda Considering Production Halt at Flat Rock Plant
According to Detroit News, other options currently on the table include a complete overhauling of the plant and changing the models made there. Flat Rock is working a single production shift per day, making the Mazda6 and the new Ford Mustang. Annual production is currently rated at around 36,000 Mazda6 units per year, while Ford made more than double that number of Mustangs in 2010.
Ford, once a controlling shareholder of Mazda with more than 30 percent, now owns just 3.5 percent of the Japanese carmaker. The company has not made any official statement on the reports from Japan, saying that "it's not appropriate for us to comment on Mazda's business," according to company spokesperson Marcey Evans.
The Flat Rock plant need to operate at nearer to 70 percent of the 240,000 capacity, producing at least 168,000 cars per year, in order to make a profit. Mazda is even considering production in Mexico or expanding a facility in Colombia that has a limited supplier base, Ozaki said.
The company is currently struggling with the strong Japanese yen that’s making exports more expensive on the global market. It also finds it increasingly difficult to sell in the US, as demand dropped 9 percent last year, reducing market share to 1.7 percent in 2010 from 2 percent the prior year.