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by Tim Beissmann

The boss of Mazda is looking to strike partnerships with other global manufacturers to rescue the embattled company from its worsening financial situation.

The Japanese manufacturer last week forecast a net loss of 100 billion yen ($1.20 billion) for the financial year ending March 31. The horror year – not helped by the after-effects of last year’s Japan earthquake and tsunami disaster – is set to be the worst for Mazda in 11 years, and the company’s fourth successive annual loss.

Despite Mazda’s success in Australia – where the small-sized Mazda3 became the country’s top-selling car and the brand’s market share increased from 8.2 per cent to 8.8 per cent – it endured a tougher year globally, with sales dipping two per cent to 1.25 million vehicles.

Mazda CEO Takashi Yamanouchi told industry journal Automotive News he was “considering every option” to generate more capital for the business.

Mazda invested much of the $1.13 billion it received through the sale of shares in 2009 into developing its SkyActiv range of fuel-efficient engines and lightweight body and chassis components.

Yamanouchi says he is prepared to sell SkyActiv products to other manufacturers in order to get the company back in the black.

In a situation all too familiar to Australia’s local manufacturers, a strong domestic currency is making exporting vehicles from Japan less economically viable than before. Mazda builds a higher percentage of its vehicles in Japan than any other manufacturer.

Mazda is currently building a factory in Mexico to assemble the Mazda2 and Mazda3 for North and Latin America in an attempt to decrease its production costs.




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