Both automakers are determined to boost sales in North America, the world's No. 2 auto market, where competition has intensified amid a slowdown in overall sales growth, while demand has dropped for sedans -- a mainstay of Japanese automakers in the region.
Their grim profit forecasts mask what is expected to be a year of record-high global sales, led by a growth of about 5 percent in North America as the two automakers seek higher sales of their crossover nameplates, including Honda's CR-V and Mazda's CX-5 and CX-9.
Honda also expects slightly higher sales in Asia where its sales have doubled over the past five years, mainly underpinned by China, the world's top auto market.
This year, Mazda announced it and Toyota would jointly build a plant in Alabama where it would manufacture a new crossover.
Production at the new plant, planned for 2021, will enable Mazda to eventually sell 2 million vehicles, vs. 1.66 million expected this year, the automaker said.
"At the moment we build nearly 1 million cars in Japan, but to better deal with issues including forex, we plan to build roughly 1 million cars overseas," CEO Masamichi Kogai said.