Can Ford Fix Mazda?

Revving up the ailing Japanese carmaker is proving to be a much knottier problem than Ford expected

Nestled in a bay on the Sea of Japan lies Mazda Motor Corp.'s Hofu assembly plant, a feat of automated manufacturing and worker-friendly industrial design. In the "human zone," workers in spanking-white coats operate under gleaming fluorescent lights. Hot, heavy, noisy work is fully automated in a separate area. The decor is soothing greens, grays, and blues. Modular mini-lines churn out subassembled sections.

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