Mazda Motor Corp. will increase the production capacity for its Skyactiv transmission series in two years to meet an expected surge in demand for its next vehicle products that will be equipped with the gearboxes. Most of the increased output will be shipped to Mazda's new vehicle assembly site in Salamanca, Mexico that will start operating in 2014.
Mazda is currently building the Skyactiv transmissions at its Hofu site in Japan, which production capacity will be expanded to 1.14 million units annually in July 2014, from the current 750,000 units. Mazda will further increase the output for the transmission when it opens another site in Thailand by mid-2015.
Mazda announced in January that its new site in Thailand will have the capacity to produce 400,000 units annually. Mazda's Hofu and Thailand sites will ship the completed transmission to its vehicle assembly sites in other countries, according to a spokesman for the Japanese carmaker.
The spokesman disclosed that Mazda's assembly site in Mexico will initially source transmissions from either or both of the Hofu and Thailand gearbox plants. Mazda's Salamanca, site will produce the Mazda2 and Mazda3 models when it starts operations in 2014. It will have an annual production capacity of 230,000 vehicles by March 2016.
The Mazda3 produced in Salamanca will be equipped with Skyactiv technologies. The 2014 Mazda3 is the carmaker's third model -- after the CX-5 crossover and Mazda6 sedan -- to be fully redesigned with Skyactiv engine, transmission and lightweight chassis and body. Mazda said the Skyactiv automatic transmissions will provide a 7-percent improvement in fuel economy over its outgoing line.