By on October 20, 2011

The exodus of Japanese automakers continues – this time, in the opposite direction. If the sources of The Nikkei [sub] are right, then Mazda will stop making the Mazda6 in the U.S. and move production to Japan and China.

The Mazda6 is moving out of the Flat Rock, Michigan, plant that Mazda shared with Ford. The consolidation of production in Mazda’s plant in Hofu, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan and the joint venture plant with FAW in Changchun, China, is likely to coincide with the changeover to a new generation Mazda6, scheduled for late 2012.

With 80 percent of its production exported, Mazda is Japan’s volume manufacturer that is most exposed to the rising yen. Mazda wants to lift Chinese sales by 70 percent to 400,000 in 2015. It remains to be seen whether cars made in China will also be exported elsewhere.

 

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22 Comments on “Mazda6 To Be Pulled From U.S. Production...”


  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Bummer, more jobs lost. But Mazda hardly sells any of these cars in this country anyway, you can’t blame them for wanting to halt production here.

    This redesign looks to have been a mistake. The previous 6 may not have been a top seller, but I see WAY more of them on the road than the new generation. Heck, I bet if they stuck a couple more airbags in the old version, updated the powertrains, and sold it again otherwise unchanged, sales would go back up.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    It’s a shame the relationship ended, I think both benefited from the partnership that lasted over 20 years.

  • avatar
    getacargetacheck

    Seems like they’d be better off forgetting any product bigger than the C-class. The D-class is too crowded anyway. Better to build a C-class CUV (is that the CX-5?) and push the Miata, 3 and 2. Not even sure the CX-7 and 9 are worth it.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      The CX-5 is a replacement for the Tribute and will compete directly with the Escape & other CUVs. I don’t know if that falls into the C-class. They also have the Mazda5, which truly is a C-class mini-minivan built on the same platform as the Mazda3.

      The CX-5 ought to obsolete the CX-7, but I think they may keep it around. (Much like the new SkyActiv-G engine obsoleting the 2.0 MZR, but they still offer it, for now.) They may redesign the CX-7 & enlarge it to fit between the CX-5 & CX-9, but that line-up seems too crowded.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    Mazda has had a soap opera life in the States. This is a great car that is being overlooked by Camry, Accord and Altima buyers. It is too sporty for the seniors driving the Camcords, and the Altima has been successful capturing the old Pontiac buyers, along with their repeat Altima customers, leaving Mazda once again in the cold.

  • avatar
    redav

    It’s old news that Mazda is pulling US production of the 6.

    I’m trying to figure out why the 6 sells so poorly. It’s one of the few Mazdas not burdened with the ridiculous grin. When it came out, it was stellar, and then the Fusion was based on it, and it, too, was excellent. Now, I guess it’s overpriced and doesn’t stand out in a very competitive field.

    There’s quite a bit of rumbling about Mazda introducing their SkyActiv-D (diesel) to the US in the next 6. They will release the full-SkyActiv CX-5 in spring 2012, and I suspect the 6 will be the next model to get the full SkyActiv treatment and be based on the Shinari concept car. It could be a game-changer for Mazda, or it could be dud.
    http://www.npmazda.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Mazda-KODO-car.jpg?cf03380E64=6BF65DB8D!MjA0MDQzODU2OmNvcnByYWRpdXNzc286QAaqlWajlw22KYREiie06w==

    After that, I suspect the 3 will be next for a full redesign.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      The Mazda6 has poor fuel economy numbers compared to it’s competition. They really need a little more power from the base 4 cylinder engine combined with a 6 speed automatic.

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    Thr problem could probably be summed in one word: unions. The AutoAlliance plant in Flat Rock, if I’m not mistaken, is the only one producing Japanese-branded cars with UAW labor. When you look at $20-plus-an-hour wages versus the competition, for a car that isn’t selling well anyway (though I do see a lot of them here in SE Michigan), that has to weigh heavily in Mazda’s mind. It’s a shame, because the cars were good; I owned three of them (1992 Probe, 1995 MX-6, 2004 6)

    • 0 avatar
      getacargetacheck

      Baloney. AutoAlliance has always been UAW. The problem is that buyers like the Camry, Accord, Fusion, Malibu (UAW-built!), Altima, and Sonata better.

    • 0 avatar
      EEGeek

      The Mitsubishi plant in Normal, Ill. is also a UAW facility, and it certainly has its own issues and was in danger of closing until a deal was struck earlier this year. I don’t think, however, that the UAW has much to do with Mazda pulling the 6 from Flat Rock. I’m guessing it’s a speck in a much larger process of ending the relationship with Ford.

      • 0 avatar
        namesakeone

        Get a car: you may very well be right about the Mazda6’s popularity, though they didn’t say they were going to stop production of the car. The article only said that they were going to build it somewhere else. All of the cars you mentioned (save the Malibu) are not produced in union factories either (and one of the reasons I bought those cars is because they were built by UAW labor).

        EEGeek: I wasn’t aware that the Normal, Illinois plant was UAW, though I imangine that was established when Mitsubishi had a relationship with Chrysler. I wouldn’t be surprised if it closed, either.

        To both of you: I am certainly not anti-union; I just wonder if labor costs are a reason driving Mazda out of Michigan. The reasons you mention–the relative umpopularity of the Mazda6 and the breakup of the Ford-Mazda relationship–are certainly factors.

  • avatar
    Rental Man

    I think it is time for the B&B to break out and figure why the current generation of the Mazda 6 does not sell. With the Galant gone this year it might hold the lowest sales in the class. I don’t think it deserves to be there.
    So what happened to the current American Mazda 6? It just does not move any product anymore. What is stopping buyers?
    My reasons / questions for the drop are…
    Less fleet sales to Hertz since Ford is not the owner of Hertz or Mazda? (See Volvo and Jaguar fleet sales)
    Only 31 MPG on the 4 Cyl?
    Step sister Fusion gets 6 Speed Automatic on the 4cyl and you don’t?
    Not enough advertising or good marketing? No Nissan sales tactics about having cars to sell when Honda and Toyota were down?
    No Korean long 100k Warranty?
    Are the dimensions too long? (I’m 6’2, love the fact people can sit behind me)
    Did the Hatch versions like the 5 door liftback and wagon really hold much volume that is missing now?
    Would the shorter Japan / Euro versions sell better?
    Should Mazda focus like VW on the niche parts of the market like the Wagon, Diesels and AWD?

    I don’t get it. It is a good car.

    • 0 avatar
      PennSt8

      I think part of it has to do with Mazda’s dealer network as well.

      • 0 avatar
        Banger

        “I think part of it has to do with Mazda’s dealer network as well.”

        ^This and perhaps the styling. My dad and stepmother bought a new 6 last year after having a first-gen 6 they liked. They had to go to a city 90 miles away to test drive it at the nearest Mazda dealer. They also had to go 90 miles to get the recall yellow spider removal done.

        That distance is a major factor of why Mazda’s largely off my radar. It’s good to have dealer support. The other factor is the styling. I’m not crazy about Mazda’s styling direction, especially their interiors. The red instrument lighting is yucky, IMHO, even though I’ve read numerous times about how it’s easier on your eyes at night.

      • 0 avatar
        vbofw

        Banger, agreed on the red instrument panel lighting being tacky and outdated. IMO everybody should be benchmarking the clean, crisp, organized instrument panels of VW (excluding the non-GLI Jetta), BMW, and Audi. Everything else looks goofy.

      • 0 avatar
        Japanese Buick

        Agreed on the instrument lighting. Not a fan of the orange lighting but what makes it worse is the rainbow of other colors: blue, green, red indicator lights for various things. Against white lighting those don’t seem too bad but with the orange they are simply garish.

  • avatar
    chris8017

    As the owner of a 2011 Mazda6 with MT I don’t understand why they don’t sell either. After 11k miles I am just as happy with the vehicle as I was when I drove it off the dealer’s lot. For $19k after dealer negotiations on a base model, I think I got a lot of car for the money. Finish quality is outstanding and the interior is better than anything in its class IMHO.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      If you got the MT, then you got the most feature-free, plastic wheel covered, stripped down version they sell. THAT is the #1 reason I never considered another Mazda 6 (I had a 2006 for 3 years). For the 2006 and part of the 2007 MY, you could get any engine, option and feature with any transmission you desired. Now it’s a choice between slushbox or stripper. Compared to the global 6, we have no wagon, no hatchback (my 2006 was a hatchback), no diesel, no features with the manual drive.

      The next 6 should just be the global version, and Mazda should let people pick the features they want, and not just try to copy the Camry. I hope the Skyactiv D makes it here as they promised, and I can buy my car the way I want it.

  • avatar
    readallover

    As the owner of a 2004 Mazda 6 with 8 flawless years behind it, I , too am mystified by its` failure to sell. Yes, it got bigger, but not by a huge amount. To me, the 1st generation was `right sized` Closer to 3000 lbs than the Camcords, but not too small. And they flat out handle. Word of mouth isn`t getting it done. And Mazda has done almost nothing to it since the introduction of the 2nd Gen car. Also, every dealer i have seen has few 6`s sitting around, and those that do are usually loaded to the gills.

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