Ford owns Mazda argument
I notice, as I'm sure most others do, both here and elsewhere, the claims that Mazda is simply OWNED by Ford and Mazda is another brand name, much like Lincoln, Jaguar, or Mercury.
I don't know if it is a point even worth arguing about, but this article from the Detroit Free Press September 27, 2002 has words straight from Mazda president Lewis Booth regarding the Mazda relationship with Ford Motor Company. Below is a cut and paste of that article.
Mazda brings steady seller to United States
Compact car to roll at Flat Rock plant
September 27, 2002
DETROIT FREE PRESS SPECIAL WRITER
PARIS -- Mazda's global renaissance focuses on Michigan next month when production of the Mazda6 compact sedan begins at Flat Rock.
The Mazda6 already is selling well in Japan and Europe, company president Lewis Booth said Thursday at the Paris auto show. The car will go on sale in the United States in December.
"The enthusiastic acceptance of the Mazda6 is important to our people," Booth said. "It was the first car developed in the Millennium Plan," Mazda's effort to stem losses and return to profitability.
While the Mazda6 is key to sales in the United States, where it will compete with midsize cars such as the Ford Taurus and Honda Accord, the smaller Mazda2 introduced at the auto show Thursday is key to sales in Europe and Japan, where small cars are more popular.
The car is based on the Ford Fiesta, and its development represents the relationship between Ford and Mazda.
The car has "tons of Mazda influence," Booth said. Some 100 Mazda engineers worked in Europe with Ford engineers to develop the underlying platform so that it could work with both cars.
The previous Ford-Mazda joint car in Europe, the Mazda 121, was only a Fiesta with a Mazda badge. This time Mazda not only helped develop the underlying car, it sent 70 manufacturing engineers to Ford's factory in Valencia, Spain, to oversee the start of production.
Mazda pays Ford to build the cars in Spain, while in the United States, the AutoAlliance factory in Flat Rock is a joint venture between the two companies.
Mazda returned to profitability in the fiscal year that ended March 31, and it will make even more money this year, Booth said. Mazda is investing its own cash flow in future products, and it's paying dividends to Ford.
Mazda is more independent from Ford than Jaguar or Mercury, for example.
"Ford owns 33.4 percent of Mazda, but I am hired to protect the interests of all shareholders," Booth said. Ford's holding gives it veto power over company actions, so it has enough control to name the chief executive, but not enough to integrate its operations completely.
Booth said the interests of Mazda often are best served by doing things that benefit Ford, too, such as platform sharing. But there are occasions when interests diverge and cause friction.
For example, he said, Ford might want some component from Mazda, but not be willing to pay enough to make it worthwhile for Mazda. And Mazda would never let Ford use its rotary engine, a component that's crucial to the Mazda brand. Mazda is the only car company in the world that uses pistons that spin instead of bouncing up and down.
Booth said he is a different sort of boss than Mark Fields, whom he replaced in July. But he is continuing to execute the Millennium Plan. "I don't believe in management by personality," he said. "The Millennium Plan isn't my plan, and it isn't Mark's plan. It's the Mazda management team plan."
- TOP STORIES
Broken promise irks CAW
Chrysler to add shift, 1,000 jobs at Warren Truck plant
DaimlerChrysler expanding lineup, hoping sales will follow
Delphi CEO says bookings strong, sees 'good finish'
Fiat planning additional job cuts as car sales fall
Ford boosts rebates on some vehicles to match rivals
FORD MOTOR CO.'S ROUGE CENTER: PLANTS ON PLANT
Kia focuses on sales, quality to better Power survey score
Mitsubishi Motors to merge dealer networks in 2003
Mitsubishi Motors to unify Japan sales channels
Port shutdown chokes economy
UAW and parts firm agree on organizing
• More headlines from Reuters
Comments? Questions? You can reach us at Auto.com.
Auto.com is published daily Monday through Friday by the Detroit Free Press.
Copyright © 2002 Detroit Free Press Inc.
I hope that clears things up reasonably well.