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by Jay Traugott
New hatchback to be jointly developed and produced by Mazda and Toyota specifically for the North American market.
This was not exactly a partnership we expected to hear, but we're pleased to see Mazda getting the help it needs. The Zoom-Zoom brand has definitely had its share of ups and downs over the last few years, one of those major downs being the separation from longtime corporate partner Ford. Without the aid of a wealthier and bigger automaker, Mazda has had problems staying afloat. Fortunately, it has been working to fix this by developing cozier relations with Fiat and now with Toyota.
The two Japanese automakers have just announced a partnership agreement that will see Mazda build a new subcompact economy car for Toyota based on its Mazda2 specifically for the North American market. Production, which is set to begin in the summer of 2015 and will take place at Mazda's new Mexico plant with the production goal of around 50,000 units a year. So what does each side get from the agreement? Mazda will be able to spread production costs over a larger number of annual vehicles, therefore increasing profitability.
Toyota will be able to strengthen its North American lineup while saving money at the same time. The move strikes us as an odd one given Mazda's recent withdrawal of the 2 from the North American market, but as the largest automaker in the world, we have to figure Toyota knows something we don't.