Mazda Motor Corporation said on Friday it will set up a joint venture with Russian automaker Sollers to produce vehicles for Russia as the Japanese automaker pushes further into emerging markets.
Japan’s No.5 automaker said initial production capacity from the joint venture would be 50,000 vehicles when it begins operations in the autumn of 2012 and reach 70,000 per year later. Financial details on the venture were not disclosed.
The venture will produce Mazda’s CX-5 SUV, the next-generation Mazda6 car and a Sollers brand vehicle for sale in Russia. In 2011, Mazda sold about 40,000 vehicles in Russia, an year-on-year rise of about 60 per cent, making it company’s second-largest market in Europe.
Russian car sales are expected to grow about 6 per cent this year to 2.8 million vehicles, according to both government and independent forecasts, with the market seen reaching 4 million vehicles by 2015.
Sollers has entered similar ventures with other automakers recently including Ford Motor Co and Fiat, to take advantage of government incentives to boost local production. Mazda, which produces more than 70 per cent of its vehicles in Japan and exports more than three-quarters of that, has been looking to boost its overseas output capacity to make its profits less dependent on yen exchange rates.