Monday, March 5, 2001

Ford Motor Company Valencia Vehicle Operations Plant

Mazda Motor Corporation has selected Ford Motor Company's Valencia Vehicle Operations Plant in Almussafes, Spain, to produce its small B-class car for the European market. Production is expected to begin in early 2003.

Ford Motor Company Valencia

Ford Motor Company Valencia

The decision will give Mazda initial production capacity of 40,000 units annually for the European market and will help Mazda address its vulnerability to fluctuations in currency exchange rates. Almost all of Mazda's production for Europe is currently produced in Japan.

At the same time as today's Mazda announcement, Ford announced plans to build its next-generation Fiesta model at the plant. The facility, based in the city of Almussafes, 20 kilometres from Valencia, currently produces the popular and successful Ford Focus and Ka models. The Almussafes plant will become the second source for Fiesta, which will also be built at Ford's Cologne Assembly Plant.

"We selected Valencia, in part, because the plant and its employees have demonstrated their ability to produce two totally different vehicles on the same site, efficiently and with consistently high quality," said Mazda Motor Corporation President, Mark Fields. "That combination of flexibility and quality makes Valencia ideal to handle these vehicle programmes."

"This decision is a win-win for both Mazda and Ford," Fields added. "It gives us a cost-efficient European production base, and it makes us less vulnerable to currency fluctuations. It also enables Ford to enhance the use of its facilities by accommodating Mazda products."

Fields left the door open to the possibility of similar cooperative ventures in the future.

"Our partnership with Ford Motor Company gives both sides many strategic options, including building Mazda cars and trucks at Ford facilities - and producing Ford cars and trucks in Mazda facilities," Fields said. "We will continue to pursue this where it makes business sense to do so without reducing our ability to deliver on customer expectations for each of our unique brands."

Fields also announced the appointment of Mazda Director Akira Marumoto in charge of European Research and Development and Production Operations. Among other things, Marumoto will oversee preparations for the start-up of 2003 Mazda production at the plant and will be responsible for ensuring Mazda's strict quality levels. Marumoto, 43, previously had been Mazda's Director, Product Quality Division in Hiroshima.

An adjoining supplier park to the Ford site in Almussafes will support the production of the Mazda model and will offer modular production capability and modern supply systems. Ford employs 7,100 its Valencia Vehicle Operations Plant. The total site, including the supplier park, employs more than 9,700.

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