The rumor has been swirling for months that Mazda is seeking an independent partnership with Changan Auto from Ford. Now it is validated as the news breaks out that the production of the popular Mazda 3 has been ceased in the Changan-Ford-Mazda factory in Chongqing, and is shifting to the Nanjing factory–a production base Mazda can more properly consider its own.
For years, Mazda’s China operation has been entangled in the complex relations between Changan, Ford, and FAW. It runs JV companies with both Changan and FAW, and Ford, which still owns 11% of Mazda, is a partner of Changan and not of FAW. This resulted in a strange arrangement according to which Mazda 3 was produced in a Changan-Ford controlled factory while being marketed by FAW Mazda.
Now the CEO of Mazda China acknowledges that they are waiting for the Chinese government’s approval for a restructured JV enterprise of Changan Mazda that is independent from Changan Ford. The new enterprise will take charge of the production as well as marketing and sales of Mazda 3. Production is scheduled to resume in Nanjing at the end of this month.