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Mazda says it is on the path to remain profitable after having finally turned its fortunes around last year, marking the first time in five years the Japanese manufacturer has posted a profit.

The company made $34.3 billion yen ($372 million) in the last Japanese financial year (ending March 31), a stark contrast to the four previous years, with the company’s 2011-12 records showing a massive $1.24 billion loss.

Speaking to CarAdvice at the global launch of the new Mazda 3 in Los Angeles, Martin Benders, Mazda Australia’s managing director, said the Japanese manufacturer has all intentions of remaining profitable going forward.

“First of all the big part of the loses [previously] where that they had high cost vehicles at the same time they had the global financial crisis at the same time as Euro and US dollar went down” Benders said.

Outside of external factor affecting the company, the main reason for the profitability turn around has been the switch to smarter manufacturing, with Mazda’s production line now able to cope far better with model variations and demand changes.

Mazda plans to sell 1.7 million cars a year globally by 2016, having hit 1.2 million last Japanese financial year and aiming to hit 1.35 million this year.

“All of that together will mean profitability, their target is to double the level of profit from last year to this year.”

But despite the profitability focus, Mazda continues to invest heavily into future technology and products.

“They are doing a whole lot of things, still in investment cycle, still investing in next-generation SkyActiv powertrains, building a new plant in mexico, expanding capacity in Thailand, joint ventures in Malaysia and Russia and doing some reshuffle in China as well.”

The focus for Mazda will be to shifts its production to other markets so that it’s not held ransom by the Japanese Yen. The company aims to have a 50:50 production split in/out of Japan by 2018.

Currently all Mazda vehicles in Australia are built in Japan, including the soon to arrive 2014 Mazda 3.