MEXICO CITY — Japanese automaker Mazda has announced plans to invest $500 million in a new assembly plant in Salamanca, Mexico, in 2013. News of the plant, which will build the next-generation Mazda 2 and Mazda 3, followed by 10 days the company’s announcement that it is withdrawing from its AutoAlliance International joint venture with Ford in Michigan.
The Salamanca plant, in the central state of Guanajuato, will have the capacity to build 140,000 cars a year. It will also build four-cylinder engines for the cars, which will be marketed primarily in Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America. Mazda’s longtime trading partner Sumitomo Corp. will also be a partner in the assembly plant.
Earlier this month, Mazda said it would build the successor to the midsize Mazda 6 sedan — due in 2013 — in Japan, rather than in Michigan, and is working with joint-venture partner Ford to “identify potential future opportunities” for the underused Flat Rock plant south of Detroit.
Mazda said the current Mazda 6, which is marketed in Japan as the Mazda Atenza, will continue in production at Flat Rock “until the end of its cycle plan,” which insiders say is 2013.