Mazda offers voluntary buyout packages to U.S. workers

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 11, 2012

Mazda Motor Corp. is reexamining its business to “accelerate further cost improvements,” Jim O'Sullivan, CEO of Mazda North American Operations, said in a memo sent to employees on March 7. Mazda has been reporting massive losses for the past four years and is now offering voluntary buyout packages to its American workers and as part of further efforts to reduce costs, there may be dismissals.

O’Sullivan said that Mazda is "in the midst of an extremely challenging business environment." This plan has been confirmed by Mazda spokesman Jeremy Barnes who said that Mazda has 701 U.S. workers. This announcement comes after the disclosure last month that its Japanese parent anticipates a net loss of 100 billion yen, or $1.2 billion, for the fiscal year that ends on March 31.

This will be the largest loss for Mazda in the last 11 years, mostly due to the impact of the strong yen. In the five regions of Mazda, just North America has reported a sales increase in the first three quarters of the fiscal year. Its U.S. sales are higher by 48% this calendar year until February. The memo stated further that this initiative will be done in three stages.

The first is a "voluntary" package that consists of separation pay, a lump-sum payment based on years of service, and assistance in landing a new job. Employees are required to apply by April 16. Mazda will make its decision by April 27 on which employees can get the package. There will also be a "redeployment process" that will restructure the organization, which will then have a smaller work force.

Beginning May 16, employees will be positioned in the new structure. With regards to “involuntary" separations, Mazda said that if there aren’t enough volunteers to achieve its cost-reducing aims, there will be some workers dismissed. These workers won’t receive the "enhanced benefits" that volunteers will receive. Mazda workers will start to know who will lose their jobs on May 29.

Mazda is entering the compact crossover sports utility vehicle or SUV segment with its all-new CX-5, a vehicle that does more than merely look the part. This SUV needed to evoke a degree of driving passion and emotion that’s worthy of the Mazda name. It is the very first production model to feature Mazda’s new design theme, called "KODO - Soul of Motion." Taking inspiration from nature’s beauty and power, as well as from the concept of motion, the CX-5 is able to achieve an excellent balance between performance and style.

The KODO design theme was first unveiled on the Mazda Shinari in 2010, and then on the Mazda Minagi. The Shinari is a four-door sports coupe concept, while the Minagi is a compact crossover SUV concept where the Mazda CX-5 was based. And starting with the Mazda CX-5, KODO is going to exemplify the design of an entirely new generation of vehicles bearing the Mazda name that is faster and more soulful as well as a more forceful means of motion.

KODO’s essence is brimming with emotion, vitality, and agility, as can be seen in animal movements. Mazda’s designers for CX-5 had, in fact, studied cheetahs, which are the fastest creatures on land. They observed how they use their whole body as a spring and set a huge amount of energy into motion with grace and dexterity. The designers, stirred by such beauty, had then elevated the SUV look to another level with the KODO design theme.

This resulted to a sophisticated exterior that boldly projects a sense of elegant motion and an anticipation for an exhilarating drive, while also expressing sturdiness and functionality.

Meanwhile, developers had pursued an imposing and sporty design that delivers a great balance of functionality, form, and performance. Hence, expectations from a crossover SUV – particularly an active and powerful appearance – are combined with the brand’s characteristic emotional and dynamic styling.

Topics: mazda, united states

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