By on October 18, 2010

Most divorces are a bit messy, and the Ford/Mazda separation is no exception. Sometimes, it tales a while for reality to sink in.  Here are the latest dispatches from divorce court.

  • Last Friday, The Nikkei [sub] said that Ford will sell most of its remaining shares in Mazda, leaving a token presence of 3 percent or less.
  • Later in the day (Tokyo is 13 hours ahead of NYC) the Wall Street Journal said it’s true that Ford and Mazda will split in China (talk about old hat, we said that in January), otherwise, everything hunky-dory. “Ford’s ownership stake in Mazda remains unchanged. Ford continues to have a close strategic relationship with Mazda and we cooperate in areas of mutual benefit. We have no further comment on the speculation,” a Ford  spokesman said in an email to the WSJ. Nobody believed it.
  • On Saturday, The Nikkei [sub] plowed ahead with the story and already whittled down the list of possible suitors for Mazda after Ford has left the fair maiden. They caught a Toyota official who said that Toyota has not been asked to buy some of the Mazda shares “that Ford Motor Co. has decided to sell. So Toyota is out.
  • Today, The Nikkei [sub] is standing steadfast by its story, saying that “Ford Motor Co. is set to sell a large part of its shareholdings in Mazda Motor Corp. (7261) and will invest the money instead in emerging markets.” Their source: “A person familiar with the matter.”
  • Meanwhile in the West, reality is beginning to sink in. Financial Times confirms today that “Ford is preparing to sell most of its remaining interest in Mazda of Japan, according to people familiar with the matter, in a move that would all but end the carmakers’ 31-year capital alliance.” The Wall Street Journal today concedes that “Ford mulls cutting its share of Mazda” and that “Ford is expected to use the proceeds to pay down debt and invest in emerging markets.”

The deal will most likely go down by the end of the year. Until then, everybody can claim that officially, nothing has happened. Just like a marriage officially ends when the judge says so.

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12 Comments on “Ford And Mazda: Officially Still Married, But No Longer In Bed...”


  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    Mazda probably wants to follow its own drummer and probably has had to wait on the folks at Dearborn to get on board  to bring out new products.
     
    It’ll be interesting to see how Ford gets along on the with regards to future products that currently use Mazda technology.
     
    * Not long for this world are the current North American Escape, Focus and Ranger, which use variants of the Mazda MZR  engine design.
     
    * The current Mazda 2 shares a platform with the Focus.
     
    * Though heavily rebodied and tuned, the current Mazda 3 shares a platform with the European Focus.
     
    * The soon to be released Kuga/Escape and Mazda CX-5 will share the same platform.
     
    * The same is true for the overseas Ford Ranger and Mazda BT-50.
     
    All of which leads me to ask, will Ford goes its own way on the next Mondeo and North American Mondeo?   Is Mazda large enough to bring out new platforms solo and not incur a ginormous debt?

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    Mazda probably wants to follow its own drummer and probably has had to wait on the folks at Dearborn to get on board  to bring out new products.
     
    It’ll be interesting to see how Ford gets along on the with regards to future products that currently use Mazda technology.
     
    * Not long for this world are the current North American Escape, Focus and Ranger, which use variants of the Mazda MZR  engine design.
     
    * The current Mazda 2 shares a platform with the Focus.
     
    * Though heavily rebodied and tuned, the current Mazda 3 shares a platform with the European Focus.
     
    * The soon to be released Kuga/Escape and Mazda CX-5 will share the same platform.
     
    * The same is true for the overseas Ford Ranger and Mazda BT-50.
     
    All of which leads me to ask, will Ford goes its own way on the next Mondeo and North American Mondeo?   Is Mazda large enough to bring out new platforms solo and not incur a ginormous debt?

  • avatar
    dwford

    For the last 20+ years, Ford needed Mazda to supplement its lack of engineering skill, and Mazda needed to economies of scale provided by Ford’s volume. Now that One Ford is in full effect, Ford doesn’t NEED Mazda anymore, but Mazda sure needs Ford. No way Mazda survives by itself.

    • 0 avatar
      OldandSlow

      The trouble with the relationship is that Mazda has to wait around for Ford to green light products on their end.  Ford tends to retool at slower intervals in N.A, witness the Focus versus Mazda 3.
       
      I’m sure that Mazda has been probably chomping on the bit for the last couple of years to retool the Tribute into a CX-5 in order to keep it current with the CR-V, RAV 4, Tucson, etc.

  • avatar
    tced2

    Mazda was in trouble in the 70’s and Ford took an ownership stake to save them.  The public was not enamored of the Wankel-heavy lineup of Mazda and the poor gas mileage ratings – that was important in the late 70’s after the first gas embargo.
    Now the shoe appears to be on the other foot.  Ford needs the cash.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    So wait…Ford has NOT sold it’s shares and more than likely NOT until the end of this year?

    Perhaps we should all wait until we know what the hell we are talking about. Other than internal workings, nothing should stop the sale of shares now.

    And speaking of the marriage similarities, this marriage might will stay together once they the parties involved realize they are quite in need, if not in love, of each other.

    Again at least for the kid’s sake!

  • avatar
    SupaMan

    I for one would like to see how Mazda fares as an independent in the long term. Love their cars, styling and the engineering that goes into them. Sure they’ll eventually need another partnership, but if Saab is any indication of going forward, that shouldn’t be a problem for Mazda.
     
    That Tribute is an eyesore in an otherwise splendid lineup.

  • avatar
    Mr Carpenter

    I’m thinking outside the USA “box” right now, and wonder if Mazda and Mitsubishi would make good partners.  Don’t do the “Hyundai/Kia” partial ownership gig.  Do a full, permanent merger.

    Think about it this way:  there would be no cross-cultural issues (Ford/Mazda; Chrysler/Mitsubishi/Daimler Benz; Nissan/Renault). 

    For those of you who think USA only and think Mitsubishi is a failure, read on. 

    Mitsubishi has “mom” (Mitsubishi Bank) and “pop” (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries) that he’s had to move back in with since the “marital” break-up with Daimler-Chrysler (which was in fact a menage a trois).  So, plenty of monetary backing.  Something Mazda could use.

    Mitsubishi is very large in many up and coming nations.  Mazda, less so. 

    Mitsubishi has the electric car technology. 

    Mazda and Mitsubishi would be able to develop, engineer and share components for next-generation cars, with lower costs due to higher production of shared parts. 

    Mitsubishi also partners in places where Mazda does not, such as India (and is setting up a factory there for their own use), Russia (new factory going in), and has several partners in China (with Mazda stuck with collaborative partners of Ford for now).  With Chinese laws, this means a Mazda-Mitsubishi combination would have to choose two partners, I believe, rather than the four they now have.  But this could be an opportunity to move forward and consolidate with stronger partners in that country. 

    As for Europe, Mazda has no presence whereas Mitsubishi (once again) does – in Holland.  In addition, there would be the “side affair” situation with Peugeot, where technologies, development costs, engineering costs and parts could continue to be shared with Peugeot though with less of a financial stake in one another. 

    Sheesh comparing this corporate shenanegans to marriage starts to fall apart when it starts to look like menage a trois again….

  • avatar
    Jacob

    Recently, the biggest Ford component Mazda was using was Ford’s V6 engine. I am sure they can come up with a deal to continue using those or come up with their own.. And given the trend towards the turbo-4 engines, it’s not even clear if Mazda will need its own V6 engine in future.

  • avatar
    mtypex

    It’s quite possible that Mazda would go without a V6, but without access to capital … it won’t be around for long.

  • avatar
    Mullholland

    Prior to Ford’s investment in Mazda, Mazda has maintained long-term banking connections with one of the big three Japanese banks that include Mitsubishi through its relationship with Sumitomo. If the Mazda/Mitsubishi tie-up is a good idea (and I’m not so sure it is) In order for Mazda and Mitsubishi to link up they’d have to figure out this financial conflict.

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