LOS ANGELES — Mazda is reconfiguring its plant in central Mexico to build the new CX-30 crossover alongside the recently re-engineered Mazda3 sedan on the automaker's next-generation platform designed for its move upmarket.
The company confirmed the choice of the plant in Salamanca, Mexico, in the heart of the nation's automotive corridor for the highly anticipated crossover that slots between the subcompact CX-3 and compact CX-5. Given the decline of the car market in the U.S., Mazda dealers are hoping for a sales jolt from the CX-30 beginning early next year.
Mazda's U.S. sales fell 11.5 percent to 189,329 vehicles through August.
Miguel Barbeyto, president of Mazda Mexico, said Salamanca was chosen in part because the CX-30 is a global product and Mexico has free-trade agreements with dozens of nations that allow automakers to efficiently distribute Mexico-made vehicles throughout Latin America, Europe, the U.S. and Canada.
Barbeyto told Automotive News Mexico in a recent interview that production of the Mazda3 hatchback would be moved to Japan in order to accommodate the new crossover.
The Salamanca plant has a capacity of 250,000 vehicles a year and also builds subcompact cars: the Mazda2 sedan and hatchback and the Toyota Yaris sedan and hatch. Mazda and Toyota have a production agreement at the plant, and the Yaris is a slightly modified version of the Mazda2.
Mazda also is building a U.S. plant in a joint venture with Toyota Motor Corp. that will produce a different Mazda crossover beginning in 2021. Mazda has not announced that vehicle, but it's likely to be bigger than the CX-5 and smaller than the three-row CX-9. Toyota will build a distinct crossover that it also has not announced.
— Reporter Ivet Rodriguez from Automotive News México contributed to this report.