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Mazda boosts engine plant again

Frugal: Mazda's super-economical SkyActiv-G 1.3-litre direct-injection petrol will be added to the Mazda2/Demio line-up in Japan in the next few weeks.

SkyActiv boom means Mazda’s Japanese engine plant gets another boost

Mazda logo29 Aug 2013

By MIKE COSTELLO

STRONG global demand for its new-generation of vehicles has seen Mazda substantially increase capacity at its Hiroshima engine plants for the second time in 13 months.

The Japanese plant currently manufactures around 800,000 so-called SkyActiv-G petrol and SkyActiv-D diesel engines annually for use in models such as the Mazda2, Mazda3, Mazda6 and CX-5.

By the end of next year, Mazda wants to boost this to one million units, as it feverishly works to keep up with global demand. Remarkably, this time last year the Hiroshima factory could only churn out 400,000 engines per annum, with the company announcing an initial investment to grow capacity to the current level in July 2012.

The news comes shortly after Mazda reported its first profit in five years - it finished $A396 million in the black for the Japanese financial year - as its heavy investment in modular, lightweight SkyActiv engines, transmissions and architecture began to pay off.

Mazda’s major investments in SkyActiv came despite years of losses, including a massive 108 billion yen ($A1.25 billion) hit for the 2012 financial year.

The company says Hiroshima will yield the extra 20 per cent capacity via the installation of a “versatile new engine machining line”, while one of the assembly lines previously producing only ‘MZR’ inline-four engines will be revamped to simultaneously produce SkyActiv wares as well.

“Sales of SkyActiv vehicles are increasing in markets around the globe and the decision to increase production capacity was made to further strengthen our supply system... we’ll continue to do everything we can to deliver SkyActiv vehicles to as many customers as possible, as quickly as possible,” said Mazda executive officer in charge of global production Kiyotaka Shobuda.

As reported, Mazda plans to grow global sales to 1.7 million units by 2016, with 80 per cent of these to use SkyActiv technology.

As well as Hiroshima, Mazda has recently invested in new engine plants in China - production at the Changan Ford Mazda Engine Co, facility began in June 2013 - and Mexico, where it will commence production from 2014.

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