Mazda to Stop Production at U.S. Venture with Ford, NHK Says

Mazda Motor Corp. (7261), Japan’s second- largest auto exporter, will stop production at an unprofitable U.S. joint venture with Ford Motor Co. (F), Japanese broadcaster NHK said.

Mazda will transfer production of Mazda6 vehicles to Yamaguchi prefecture in Japan from the factory in Flat Rock, Michigan, as early as 2013, NHK said, without saying where it obtained the information.

The yen’s 13 percent gain against the U.S. dollar in the past year has reduced Mazda’s profit from overseas sales. Mazda’s U.S. deliveries in May fell 21 percent from a year earlier. Kiyoshi Ozaki, chief financial officer of the Hiroshima-based company, said in February the company will announce plans for U.S. production by the middle of this year.

Jeremy Barnes, a spokesman for the carmaker’s North American unit, declined to comment on the NHK report.

“The company has been discussing future plans for our U.S. factory with Ford,” Ken Haruki, a spokeman for Mazda in Tokyo, “but we have nothing to announce at this time. We do not comment on speculation.”

Todd Nissen, a spokesman for Ford, also declined via e-mail to comment on the report, calling it “speculation.”

Mazda remained unchanged at 201 yen at the 11 a.m. trading break in Tokyo, compared with the 0.3 percent drop in the Nikkei 225 Stock Average.

The Michigan plant produced about 54,000 vehicles last year, Ozaki said in February.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anna Mukai in Tokyo at amukai1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kae Inoue at kinoue@bloomberg.net

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