TOKYO -- Mazda Motor Corp. today said it will more than double capacity for its Skyactiv transmission series in two years to meet what it expects to be booming demand for its next wave of cars, which will rely on the gearboxes.
Much of the increased output will likely be channeled to a Mexican assembly plant that Mazda is scheduled to open next year.
Mazda's Hofu transmission factory in southwestern Japan is the only plant producing the new generation of automatic transmissions, which the company says deliver a 7 percent improvement in fuel economy over the company's outgoing line.
But the Japanese carmaker will expand annual capacity at the Hofu plant to 1.14 million units a year in July 2014, from 750,000 units today, the company said.
That capacity will be further augmented by a factory opening in mid-2015 in Thailand. Mazda revealed plans for that plant in January and said it will have capacity to make 400,000 units a year.
The Hofu and Thailand plants will ship transmissions to vehicle assembly operations in other countries, a Mazda spokesman said. The Mexican assembly plant will initially source from one or both, but details are still being decided, he said.
The Salamanca, Mexico, plant will make Mazda2 and Mazda3 small cars when it opens in 2014, and will have capacity to produce 230,000 vehicles a year by March 2016. The Mazda3s built there will be equipped with the brand's suite of Skyactiv technologies.
Target: 1.7 million
The 2014 Mazda3, which goes on sale in the United States this fall, is the company's third vehicle, after the CX-5 crossover and Mazda6 sedan, to be fully redesigned with the Skyactiv engine, transmission and lightweight chassis and body.
Mazda aims to boost global sales to 1.7 million vehicles in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2016, from 1.2 million vehicles in the year that ended March 31. It wants 80 percent of its future fleet to be equipped with Skyactiv technologies.