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Old 10-02-2002, 21:05   #1 (permalink)
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Mazda to reopen Hiroshima plant to up output

NEW YORK, Oct 2 Reuters reported that Mazda Motor Corp. plans to reopen a plant in Hiroshima in western Japan to back up other factories now running at high capacity as a wave of new models is rolled out, a Japanese newspaper reported.

Mazda, Japan's fifth-largest automaker, will produce the latest Familia subcompact at the No. 2 Ujina plant for Japanese and foreign markets, replacing its original plan for production in Europe, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun's Thursday online edition said.

The plant, which was closed last September, will also likely take up production of Mazda's Bongo series and fully remodeled subcompact Demio. It will crank out 200,000 vehicles a year when it reopens as early as next year, the report said.

The paper also said Mazda's restructuring measures such as staff cuts were taking effect, helping bolster its balance sheet.

Its domestic facilities such as the No. 1 Ujina plant, also in Hiroshima Prefecture, and its Hofu plant in neighboring Yamaguchi Prefecture have been running at high gear, the paper said.
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Old 10-02-2002, 21:10   #2 (permalink)
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Mazda says nothing decided on Hiroshima plant

TOKYO, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Japan's Mazda Motor Corp <7261.T> said on Thursday it had made no decision on its No. 2 Ujina factory in Hiroshima despite a report the plant would be reopened to back up others running at high capacity.

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun said Japan's fifth-largest automaker -- which shut the western Japan factory in September 2001 as part of restructuring -- had decided to resume operations at the plant next year as the company rolls out a wave of new models.

The automaker, 33 percent owned by Ford Motor Co <F.N>, would not confirm the Thursday report, which also said Mazda planned to produce 200,000 vehicles a year at the plant after reopening it.

"There is no comment that we can make at this point," said Mazda spokesman Hideo Azuma.

"It is true that we are studying various options regarding the output capacity of our plants, but we will likely not be announcing any decision on that until around our first-half earnings announcement (in November)."

Mazda plans to produce the latest version of its Familia subcompact -- set to go on sale in the second half of 2003 -- at the Ujina plant for the domestic and overseas markets, the paper said.

The company would export the car to Europe instead of producing it there as originally planned, it said.

The automaker also plans to move production of its Bongo series to the Ujina plant from its Fuchu plant in Hiroshima, and move some production of its remodeled subcompact Demio to the Ujina factory in response to strong demand, the paper said.

The launch of the fully remodelled Demio and the RX-8 sports car are expected to help drive Mazda's earnings growth this year.

After spending much of the 1990s in the red, Mazda managed to return to profit last year, helped by partner Ford which led it through six years of restructuring.

A new brand identity, including a well-received "Zoom-Zoom" marketing campaign, has won Mazda strong reviews from analysts, many of whom appear sold on Mazda's promise of a product-led recovery in the coming years.

Shares in Mazda closed the morning session up 1.09 percent at 279 yen, outperforming a 0.37 percent drop in the Nikkei average <.N225>.
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