The past year for Mazda North American Operations has been challenging due to financial losses and workforce cuts; however, Mazda's top U.S. executive Jim O'Sullivan thinks that the automaker is in the right direction once more. O’Sullivan was interviewed when he attended the classic car festivities this recent weekend.
Mazda is off to a good start as it had achieved a global operating profit in the quarter that ended June 30 and the sales of the CX-5 crossover, which was launched in the U.S. this spring, are on target. O'Sullivan said that the company is hoping to get another 20,000 units from the plant. As has been the case, Mazda has been struggling due to the strong yen and the situation doesn’t seem to be improving.
But O'Sullivan is “guardedly” optimistic about the general economy for the rest of the year. Executives of other automakers have changed their tune, from being upbeat to practising caution. He explained that Europe is a source of concern but even the consumer confidence in the U.S. has been shaken due to the fiscal policy in Washington, D.C., and the volatile stock market.
But if there’s one thing that he is sure of, it’s Mexico. A new plant broke ground last year on its new factory in Salamanca. The steel structure has been put up and the factory will start to produce Mazda3s and Mazda2s in early 2014.
This plant is also where Mazda will produce an engine plant. He said that Mazda looked at different sites in the U.S. before deciding to construct the plant in Mexico. It was an easy decision though since Mexico has free trade agreements with 44 countries. Israel is actually the only country that has more trade agreements than Mexico. [source: Automotive News - sub. required]