TOKYO -- Mazda Motor Corp. said on Tuesday it is raising output of its Mazda3 compact car by making the hot-selling model at another domestic factory that reopened last year.
Production of the sporty compact, called Axela in Japan, began on Tuesday at the Ujina No.2 plant near its headquarters in Hiroshima, western Japan. Mazda plans to build 2,000 units a month, all bound for overseas markets, at the Ujina No.2 plant, it said in a statement.
That will bring total annual production of the Mazda3 to about 350,000 units, a Mazda spokeswoman said. Last year, the automaker produced 337,377 units of the car at two other factories in western Japan.
The compact model, first launched in October 2003, is in short supply all over the world, especially in Europe, North America and Australia.
In the first four months of this year, Mazda3 sales in the United States totalled 31,722 units, up 32 percent from the same period last year. Its popularity has also helped Mazda to become Australia's top-selling import brand in the year to date.
The Ujina No.2 plant, called U2 inside Mazda, also builds the Mazda2/Demio subcompact, and has been redesigned to be more flexible to allow production of a wide range of models, including minivans.