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Mazda may cease production at Michigan assembly plant

The Auto Alliance plant in Flat Rock, Michigan is a joint venture between Ford and Mazda, with the mighty Mustang built alongside the new Mazda6 but according to reports out of Japan, Mazda may be looking to end production of the slow-selling sedan at the shared production facility.

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The Auto Alliance facility in Flat Rock began its life in the early 1970s as an engine production facility but as the popularity of V8 engines waned through the late 70s and early 80s, Ford closed the plant. Mazda purchased the facility in 1987 and converted it from an engine plant to a vehicle assembly facility, naming it the Mazda Motor Manufacturing USA. During this time, some Mazda-built Ford products like the Ford Probe joined production of Mazda models but in 1992, Ford Motor Company bought back 50% of the facility and at that point it became Auto Alliance International.

In the early days of the Auto Alliance, the plant was responsible for the Mazda 626 and the Mercury Cougar until 2002 when the Mazda6 was introduced for American production. The Ford Mustang then opened production at the Flat Rock facility starting in 2005 with the introduction of the S197 Mustang.

While a variety of sources including Japanese media and Bloomberg both suggest that Mazda will be vacating their portion of the Auto Alliance facility within the next few years, representatives from both Mazda and Ford have passed the rumors off as speculation. Mazda admits that they have been in talks with Ford about the future of the American production line for the Mazda6 but the company isn’t offering any real news on the future.

The Mazda6 moved just 54,000 units last year and with the Japanese Yen’s gains against the US dollar over the past year, profits have been reduced across their American-built models. According to the reports, should the Mazda6 have its production moved to Japan, it will be built in the Yamaguchi prefecture.

Source: Bloomberg

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