Ford And Mazda: Still Happy Together

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

“We’re still dependent on each other,” Ford’s head of global product development Derrick Kuzak tells the Detroit News, dispelling rumors that Ford and Mazda are going their separate ways. “You cannot change that overnight.” According to Kuzak, many of Ford’s most important vehicles continue to be based off of Mazda platforms. Ford Chief Financial Officer Lewis Booth adds,

The strategic relationship continues. The business relationships continue. And they continue on the basis that they’ve always continued. Where it works to the benefit of both companies, we do things together, and where it doesn’t, we don’t.

Booth explains that, though in the past Ford was more dependent on Mazda, “now, it’s a little more two-way than it was. There’s more mutual sharing.” So why has Ford reduced its stake in Mazda over the last several years? Booth claims that the move was motivated more by Ford’s financial position than any dissatisfaction with the oldest alliance in the auto business. Mazda’s financial weakness now makes it more dependent on Ford than it had been, as analysts claim the Japanese firm is too small to be a true volume manufacturer but too large to be a niche brand. And besides engine and platform-sharing, the two firms operate joint ventures in China, Thailand, and South Africa.

And Chinese-market cooperation is being forced into the foreground of discussions between the two firms. The sale of the Volvo brand to Geely complicates the Changan Ford Mazda venture, as the 35 percent Ford, 15 percent Mazda and 50 percent Changan-owned venture currently builds Volvo-branded vehicles for the Chinese market. In addition to figuring out how to work that production out of Changan, Ford is seeking to improve the venture’s performance, as the Blue Oval’s Chinese efforts currently haul in a mere two percent of the crucial Chinese market. Work is under way on a plant expansion that would boost Changan Ford Mazda’s production to 600k units annually, nearly double what the number sold by the venture this year. As Ford and Mazda feel their way through their evolving relationship, Chinese market strategy should take on an increasingly important role.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • TrailerTrash TrailerTrash on Dec 15, 2009

    Many of us tried to explain that the alliance was still there, that the entanglement was deep. The real question is WHY did Ford sell the shares for so little? I believe, I do not know, that it was between Mazda and Ford. Sort of within family unspoken deal. This both knowing the real partnership was no cemented and the future still held a deep commitment between the two.

    • Rnc Rnc on Dec 15, 2009

      They were sold for so little 1. because ford's ownership stake % required Ford to carry Mazda's gain/loss (losses recently) and assets/liabilities (debt) on thier balance sheet and that has an impact on Ford's credit rating and ability to borrow for Ford Motor credit. 2. for the reason given above (using internal cash instead of debt to purchase shares) knowing that Mazda was going to do a tender offer to raise funds for R&D development (which helps both), if Ford wanted to hold on to it's controlling stake it would have blocked that issue. And yes it was obvious they would work together in addition to the factories listed above they also share an indian factory as well as share several NA factories. I wonder if the drag out over volvo is ford deciding whether they really want to sell the whole thing or hold onto a position similar to mazda and the three continue to develop together.

  • Fincar1 Fincar1 on Dec 15, 2009

    "...and it gets both Ford and Mazda some more news coverage that isn't all negative..."

  • Jonathan IMO the hatchback sedans like the Audi A5 Sportback, the Kia Stinger, and the already gone Buick Sportback are the answer to SUVs. The A5 and the AWD version of the Stinger being the better overall option IMO. I drive the A5, and love the depth and size of the trunk space as well as the low lift over. I've yet to find anything I need to carry that I can't, although I admit I don't carry things like drywall, building materials, etc. However, add in the fun to drive handling characteristics, there's almost no SUV that compares.
  • C-b65792653 I'm starting to wonder about Elon....again!!I see a parallel with Henry Ford who was the wealthiest industrialist at one time. Henry went off on a tangent with the peace ship for WWI, Ford TriMotor, invasive social engineering, etc. Once the economy went bad, the focus fell back to cars. Elon became one of the wealthiest industrialist in the 21st century. Then he went off with the space venture, boring holes in the ground venture, "X" (formerly Twitter), etc, etc, etc. Once Tesla hit a plateau and he realized his EVs were a commodity, he too is focused on his primary money making machine. Yet, I feel Elon is over reacting. Down sizing is the nature of the beast in the auto industry; you can't get around that. But hacking the Super Charger division is like cutting off your own leg. IIRC, GM and Ford were scheduled to sign on to the exclusive Tesla charging format. That would have doubled or tripled his charging opportunity. I wonder what those at the Renaissance Center and the Glass House are thinking now. As alluded to, there's blood in the water and other charging companies will fill the void. I believe other nations have standardized EV charging (EU & China). Elon had the chance to have his charging system as the default in North America. Now, he's dropped the ball. He's lost considerable influence on what the standardized format will eventually be. Tremendous opportunity lost. 🚗🚗🚗
  • Tassos I never used winter tires, and the last two decades I am driving almost only rear wheel drive cars, half of them in MI. I always bought all season tires for them, but the diff between touring and non touring flavors never came up. Does it make even the smallest bit of difference? (I will not read the lengthy article because I believe it does not).
  • Lou_BC ???
  • Lou_BC Mustang sedan? 4 doors? A quarterhorse?Ford nomenclature will become:F Series - Pickups Raptor - performance division Bronco - 4x4 SUV/CUVExplorer - police fleetsMustang- cars
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