Mazda snaps up engineers in latest sign of rebound

TOKYO -- Mazda Motor Corp. is embarking on a hiring binge in Japan, the latest sign that the former money-losing carmaker is bouncing back.

The surge in new recruits will come in engineering as Mazda doubles down on future product.

In its latest recruitment plan for Japan, Mazda said it will nearly quadruple the number of engineers it hires in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2016.

The goal is 185 new engineers, up from the 50 expected to be hired in the current year. It will be Mazda’s biggest haul of new technical talent since 2008, when it brought 250 aboard.

Mazda also is tripling the number of new hires in administrative and clerical roles, to 30 from 10.

Tiny, export-dependent Mazda, on course for record profit this fiscal year, is looking to channel some of that money into engineering as it develops its next generation of fuel-saving technologies.

The company is still rolling out its line of fuel efficient Skyactiv engines, transmissions and chassis. But executives are already planning a so-called Skyactiv 2. That aims to eke further gains from the internal combustion engine to meet increasingly stringent fuel economy regulations.

“Mazda is implementing its structural reform plan on a companywide basis in order to realize further growth,” Takeshi Fujiga, executive officer in charge of global human resources, said of the recruitment schedule. “The plan encompasses the expansion and evolution of Skyactiv models and the reinforcement of Mazda’s business and brand on a global scale.”

Mazda finally has more money to plow into the project.

In the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2013, Mazda delivered its first net profit after four years of losses.

For the current fiscal year, the automaker predicts net income will more than double to an all-time high of 110 billion yen ($1.05 billion), topping the previous record of $872.5 million earned in the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2008.

You can reach Hans Greimel at -- Follow Hans on Twitter: @hansgreimel

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