Mazda Australia public relations senior manager Steve Maciver confirmed the shift was part of the company’s global strategy to more evenly distribute production across Japan and other countries.
“We’re a global car company,” Maciver said. “We’ve got plants not just in Japan but in several other countries, and what we are trying to do as a company is to broaden our manufacturing footprint that has us manufacturing about 50 per cent of our cars in Japan and about 50 per cent of the cars outside of Japan.
“The reason for doing that is of course when there’s currency fluctuation. If we have manufacturing more evenly split across the globe that allows us to protect ourselves a little bit from currency fluctuation, so our plan is to take Mazda 2 out of there.
“Thailand has got a history of producing Mazda 2 and has been doing a great job with that.”
Maciver said the quality of the cars coming out of Thailand would be no different to vehicles sourced from Japan.
“We take BT-50 from Thailand, so as far as we’re concerned it’s a move we’re completely comfortable with,” he said.
“In terms of quality control it’s a Mazda plant, there’s Mazda people working there, and every car that comes off the line will go through the same stringent quality control as any Mazda car coming off the line in Japan or otherwise would.”
He said the interior materials and specifications of the cars built in Thailand should be “pretty much the same as what we’d expect from a car coming out of Japan”.
Maciver said the shift would have no impact on the pricing of the new Mazda 2, insisting that the car would be priced against its competitors regardless of its country of origin.
Mazda Australia has sourced the 2 from Japan since the city car’s introduction to our market in 2002. It switched production to Thailand in 2011 as part of a push to increase the number of vehicles it imported from the plant, but shifted back to Japan about 12 months later as demand from other markets for Thai-produced vehicles increased.
Maciver expects the Thailand shift to be a permanent one this time, though admitted that plan could change further down the track.