Auto Tech

Mazda axes U.S. production of low-performing Mazda6

Mazda will end production of its next midsize car for the North American market at its Hofu Plant in Yamaguchi prefecture, Japan,

The Mazda6, with an MSRP of $19,990, sold less than half of what was expected in the U.S. market last year. Mazda

After weeks of rumors and speculations that Mazda was planning to pull auto production from Michigan to a location outside of the U.S., the Japanese automaker on Monday confirmed it was true.

The production of the Mazda6 sedan at the AutoAlliance International plant in Flat Rock, Mich.--a joint venture with Ford--will be transferred to Mazda's plant in Hofu, Japan. U.S. production will end with the current product cycle. Mazda makes the same size sedan in Japan, but it is known there as the Atenza.

Mazda is pulling out of North America because it can't make any money. Of the 100,000 annual units planned for production out of the plant, only 45,168 were sold last year.

According to Mazda, the next-generation midsize sedan will be exported to the U.S. from Japan.

"The decision to relocate to Hofu and consolidate the production of the next CD-car [midsize] makes the most sense for our business," said Takashi Yamanouchi, president and CEO of Mazda Motor Corporation in a press release. "However, we are committed to working with Ford, our joint venture partner in AAI, to identify potential future opportunities for the plant. Mazda and Ford have enjoyed a close relationship for over 30 years. We have collaborated on projects where there are mutual benefits, and both companies remain committed to continuing this strategic partnership."

Mazda will continue manufacturing the model in China, according to the release.