Two heads are better than one at AutoAlliance International (AAI). A 50/50 joint venture between Ford Motor and Mazda, the company is a contract manufacturer of the Mazda6 and Ford Mustang. AutoAlliance's history traces back to 1984 when Mazda built a plant in Michigan to make the Mazda MX-6 and called the new company Mazda Motor Manufacturing (USA) Corporation (MMUC). In 1992 MMUC teamed up with Ford and the name of the company took its present form. In addition to its current model lineup, AutoAlliance International produces the Mazda 626 and Mustang GT500. Ford and Mazda are considering (in 2011) the dissolution of AAI due to low capacity and sluggish sales.
Mazda is considering selling its stake in AAI to Ford and ceasing to build cars in the US. This decision comes after Ford reduced its stake in Mazda from 11% to 3.5% in 2010. Ford and Mazda have been allied for many years, but because of the global financial crisis, they are making the move to go their separate ways.
This decision comes on the heels of AAI launching its new $500 million car plant at its location in Thailand. Passenger cars Fiesta and Mazda 2 will be manufactured at the new facility. The plant is expected to produce 275,000 units per year. Over the last 15 years, the two companies have invested about $2 billion in the Thailand facility. The investment illustrates the companies' commitment to the Thai market, but also to their personal global strategies.
AAI introduced a redesigned Mazda6 for the 2009 model year. Although already a successful vehicle, the newer Mazda6 aims to rival other midsized sedans such as the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry. Looking to capture drivers outside of the US, AAI manufactured Ford's launch of a redesigned small truck, the Ranger.
The alliance has made notable gains internally, too. It garnered approval from the United Auto Workers (UAW) local representing its employees. Workers approved concessions to a 2007 national labor contract, which look to save Ford billions and help the auto maker down the road toward competing with its international peers.
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