Mazda6 To Be Pulled From U.S. Production

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

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.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Namesakeone Namesakeone on Oct 20, 2011

    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)

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    • Namesakeone Namesakeone on Oct 20, 2011

      @EEGeek 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.

  • Rental Man Rental Man on Oct 20, 2011

    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.

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    • Japanese Buick Japanese Buick on Oct 21, 2011

      @PennSt8 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.

  • Chris8017 Chris8017 on Oct 20, 2011

    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.

    • Kvndoom Kvndoom on Oct 20, 2011

      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.

  • Readallover Readallover on Oct 20, 2011

    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.