Japanese automaker Mazda has started production of the Mazda3 compact car, its first model assembled in Thailand to feature SkyActiv technology, at the AutoAlliance Thailand (AAT) plant in Rayong province.
A total of 13,000 units of the new Mazda3 will be produced for the Thai market annually, according to Mazda executives who were present at the production start-up ceremony at the plant yesterday.
While the CX-5 introduced last year was the first model to feature SkyActiv technology, that popular crossover is assembled at Mazda’s plant in Malaysia and exported to Thailand tax-free.
SkyActiv technology consists of various refinements to all parts of the vehicle that Mazda says dramatically improve performance and fuel economy.
Masamichi Kogai, president and chief executive of Mazda Motor Corporation, is an ex-CEO of AAT, the Ford-Mazda joint-venture plant where the Mazda3 is assembled along with other Mazda and Ford models.
“The Mazda3 is one of the most important products in the Mazda line-up, accounting for about one-third of vehicle sales all over the world. I feel extremely proud and happy to be here not only as the CEO of Mazda, but also as an ex-CEO of AAT, and the fact that local production of one of our new generation models has begun here today means that Mazda’s business in Asean is entering a new era,” he said.
“I believe that the new Mazda3 will serve as an important tool in strengthening the Mazda brand in Thailand as well as help driving Mazda’s business in the region,” Kogai added.
The AAT plant has annual production capacity of 240,000 completely built-up units for domestic and export markets.