Thursday, March 19, 1998

European operations

Mazda Motor Corporation today announced plans to further strengthen its European operations in 1998 as it prepares to build upon its past successes and position itself to achieve its business objectives by the year 2000.

Mazda Motor Europe (MME) is to be reorganized and will be enhanced by the recruitment of several key European executives to drive the company forward into the next millennium.

The changes have been designed to enable Mazda to achieve its key objectives of 2% market share and top customer satisfaction ranking by the year 2000 as well as to improve parts and accessories sales, profitability, and brand image.

The first step is for Mazda Motor Europe to establish in June a new wholly-owned subsidiary, Mazda Motor Europe GmbH, in Leverkusen, Germany. Corporate planning, sales and marketing strategy, and customer service functions of Mazda Motor Europe S.A./N.V. and Mazda Motor Parts Center (Europe) S.A./N.V. in Belgium will be consolidated and transferred to Mazda Motor Europe GmbH, alongside Mazda Motor (Deutschland) GmbH.

Some support functions, such as training and human resources will be rationalized between Mazda Motor Europe GmbH and Mazda Motors (Deutschland) GmbH. to enhance efficiency. However, these two companies will remain separate and operate independently.

Mr. Hiraiwa, President of Mazda Motor Europe, explained, "Germany was the logical choice for MME to relocate since it is Europe's biggest market, the home of Europe's strongest manufacturers, and Mazda's largest European market. We must get closer to the European markets by improving our knowledge and understanding-so Germany is the obvious place to do this." He added, "From this strong base we can develop the rest of our European aspirations."

The next step in reorganizing will be to consolidate Mazda Motor Europe S.A./N.V and Mazda Motor Parts Center (Europe) S.A./N.V in Belgium in June to handle parts and vehicle logistics at the parts distribution center in Brussels and the port of Antwerp.

All of these reorganization efforts are designed not only to strengthen Mazda's key operations from the Pan-European perspective, but to increase efficiency by centralizing key functions and rationalizing duplicated roles across the three companies, resulting in fewer redundancies.

Mr. Hiraiwa said: "Our sales in Europe during 1997 reached 210,000 which was an increase of almost 10 per cent over 1996. We now intend to build upon our success by further improving our position in Europe. With many important and exciting new products on the way-starting soon with the new MX-5, the direct injection turbo diesel 626, and a European version of the popular Demio-Mazda clearly has a wonderful opportunity to achieve its objectives."

Mazda Motor Corporation's Research and Development Representative Office in Oberurusel, near Frankfurt, is not directly affected by the reorganization, although it will benefit from closer communications with MME.

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