Ceremony to mark first production of Mazda6 at FAW Car Company in China
Mazda Motor Co issued the following press release:
A ceremony was held today at FAW Car Co., Ltd. (FCC) in Changchun, Jilin Province, China to celebrate first production of the Mazda6 (known as 'Atenza' in Japan) which Mazda Motor Corporation will launch in China this spring.
Present at the ceremony were Tsuneo Matsubara, Managing Executive Officer and Noriaki Yamada, General Manager, Asia & Pacific Sales Department from Mazda, FAW President Zhu Yan Feng and FCC President Zhang Lei representing the FAW group, as well as the Governor of Jilin Province Hong Hu. Following remarks from Chinese government officials and the automakers, approximately 300 FCC employees looked on as representatives from each of the parties held up a specially made gold key and two Mazda6 sedan pilot vehicles rolled of the production line.
"Since China joined the WTO in 2001, a large number of automakers have launched an array of all-new models in the Chinese market resulting in a highly competitive environment," said Mazda Managing Executive Officer Tsuneo Matsubara. "Amidst such circumstances we have successfully launched production of the Mazda6 in just eight months thanks to the enthusiasm and cooperation of all involved. Mazda has designated this year as one of 'Quality, Customer Satisfaction and Growth.' I hope that FCC will also focus on quality and customer satisfaction while aiming for growth of Mazda6 sales. Last year China was the seventh largest market for Mazda (in terms of unit sales) and it will become an increasingly important market in the future."
Addressing those gathered at the ceremony FCC President Zhang Lei said, "The technical tie-up between Mazda and FCC is beneficial for both companies. Mazda6 is one of Mazda's latest products and is earning worldwide praise. By producing the Mazda6 here in China, FCC has been able to improve automobile production technologies. I am confident of the market forecasts and am sure that the Mazda6 will lead the new wave in Chinese mid-size passenger vehicles producing outstanding results."
FCC will make final adjustments to production lines to be ready for the commencement of mass production, increasing production units. Mazda6 mass production will move into high gear from late March.
China's mid-size car market, in which Mazda6 will enter, is rapidly growing, and is expected to further expand in the future. Mazda6 is aimed at cultivating a new market as China's first sports sedan, scheduled to be launched in China in April, with a target sales volume of 15,000 units for the year.
Mazda already produces Mazda Premacy and Mazda 323 at FAW Hainan Motor Co., Ltd. (FHC), a subsidiary of the FAW Group, in Hainan Province since May 2001 and July 2002 respectively. In the Chinese market, the company sold a total of 23,000 units last year, a year-on-year increase of 120%, with a 2% share in the passenger car market. This year, the company aims to gain a market share of 3%, doubling the sales volume target to 45,000 units through addition of the Mazda6.
In an effort to respond to increasing demand in the future, the automaker is working to expand its dealer network and increase the number of exclusive dealers. As of the end of December last year there are 48 dealers increased from 34 in August. In addition, the company plans to raise the number to 85 by spring this year, and to expand gradually depending on sales status.
Mazda6 went on sale in May 2002 in Japan, with three body styles: SEDAN, SPORT and SPORT WAGON. Since the vehicle's launch, its superb styling, dynamic performance, excellent packaging, functionality and craftsmanship have been proving popular with many customers. The car has won a total of 30 awards in 19 countries and regions around the globe, including Japan's RJC Car of the Year last December, runner-up in the European Car of the Year, a place among Car and Driver magazine's "2003 10 Best," and Britain's Auto 1 Car of the Year.
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My next Ford.....