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Mazda2 sedan locked in for 2010

Given the boot: A sedan version of the Mazda2 will be added to the range in Australia next year when production switches to Thailand.

New Thai plant to build Mazda2 sedan, as well as hatchback from next year

17 Nov 2009

MAZDA Australia has confirmed it will import a Mazda2 sedan alongside its Mazda2 hatch when its switches production of its popular light car from Japan to a new factory in Thailand from mid 2010.

The Mazda2 sedan shares the hatch’s 2490mm wheelbase and will be powered by the same 1.5 litre 76kW engine. Boot capacity is 450 litres, up 200 litres over the hatch.

Mazda says it will announce price and specification details closer to the Thai-built Mazda2’s arrival, but given the Free Trade Agreement between Australia and Thailand, Mazda’s light car will have a five per cent tariff advantage over some competitors.

As reported by GoAuto five weeks ago, the move from Japan to Thailand as the source for the Mazda2 from 2010 was made possible by a new AutoAlliance Thailand (AAT) passenger car plant that is expected to produce about 50,000 Mazda2s a year for ASEAN markets and wider export.

AAT is a joint venture between Ford and Mazda established in November 1995 to produce utes for Thai domestic and export markets. Ford and Mazda are equal partners in the plant, which produces Mazda’s BT-50 and Ford Ranger.

Once primarily the source for one-tonne utes for Australia, Thailand is increasingly making its mark in light car production.

22 center imageLeft: Mazda2 five-door and three-door hatches.

Honda Australia imports the Honda Jazz hatch and City sedan twins from Thailand, while Ford Australia has confirmed it will source the currently German-built Fiesta in both hatch and sedan forms from the same AAT plant as the Mazda2 from mid next year.

Nissan also will build its Micra replacement in Thailand, while the replacement for the Toyota Yaris is also expected from Thailand.

Almost all imported one-tonne utes are built in Thailand, except GWM, Mahindra and some Nissan and Toyota models.

The new AAT plant represents a total initial investment of more than $US500 million and was built on the same site as the existing ute plant at Rayong.

Mazda says that to maximise manufacturing efficiency and flexibility, the new plant features an integrated production line from stamping through to final assembly.

Mazda’s Three Layer Wet Paint system is used as a space-saving measure, and the renewed paint shop is intended for painting both utes and cars produced at the plant.

Mazda claims its paint system reduces emissions and waste yet improves paint quality.

The new passenger car plant’s production capacity is 100,000 units per year. Combined with the annual output from the ute plant, AAT’s production capacity, including complete knock down (CKD) units, will expand to 275,000 units from its existing annual production of 175,000 units.

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