It is now official. As of Friday, August 24, Mazda will no longer be making the Mazda6 — or any other model — on U.S. soil.
Mazda vacates Michigan plant
Although we have known for a while now that Mazda intended to cease its manufacturing operations in the U.S., the time has finally come. The Japanese automaker is vacating its digs at the AutoAlliance International plant in Flat Rock, Michigan. Now, its space in the plant will be taken over for the Ford Focus.
The Flat Rock story
The Flat Rock facility was operated by Ford from 1972 until 1981. Three years later, Mazda announced it would move in. The plant was retooled to make the MX-6, and officially opened for production in 1987.
In 1988, Ford moved back in to make the Probe. Since that time, the automakers have shared the three-million square-foot digs.
The following year, the Japanese automaker started making its 626 wagon in Flat Rock.
In 1992 Ford bought half of the facility back and re-dubbed it the AutoAlliance International. At that time, it started making the Mercury Cougar. In 2004, the Mustang was added to the production line.
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Since then, Mazda has also built the 626 the the 6 in the facility. However, its 2014 version of the 6 will be made in its native Japan, in the town of Hofu. That facility will also be making a new Mazda6 wagon.
Retaining its stake
The automaker has no intention, however, of abandoning the U.S. marketplace. It will continue shipping the 6 and other models to its U.S. dealers, like Kennedy Mazda Valparaiso, to name only one. although the jobs to build the Mazda 2 and 3 will now go to workers in Mexico, starting next April. It also is not giving up its 50/50 stake in the production plant.
With Mazda moving on, Ford will be adding the 2013 Fusion sedan to its production lines in Flat Rock. Although the Fusion is also being produced in Mexico, Ford feels its strong sales justifies expanding production. For that efforts, it will be investing $550 million into the facility and adding 1,200 more workers in June of 2013.
2014 Mazda6 unwrapped
Next week, Mazda is scheduled to unveil the 2014 Mazda6 sedan in Russia at the Moscow auto show. The wagon version will debut later at the Paris auto show. The U.S. will get a first look in Los Angeles, where rumor has it a new diesel version may be unveiled.