October 18, 2002

First Mazda6 sedan rolls off assembly line in Ohio

Photo by Laurance Yap
Click image to enlarge

Flat Rock, Michigan – Mazda North American Operations held a ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday at AutoAlliance International, Inc. (AAI) to celebrate the first U.S. production of the all-new Mazda6 mid-size sedan.

Officials on hand to see the first brilliant yellow MAZDA6 vehicle come off the assembly line were Charlie Hughes, president and CEO of MNAO, Phil Spender, president and CEO of AAI, Takashi Yamanouchi, chairman of the board of AAI and director, senior managing executive officer of Mazda Motor Corporation of Japan, and all of the plant’s nearly 2,000 workers.

In preparation for the start-up of U.S. production, 200 AAI employees were trained at Mazda’s Hofu, Japan plant, where the model is produced for European, Asian and other markets. The first-hand knowledge gained in Japan about the vehicle’s assembly process was transferred to co-workers when they returned to AAI.

Mazda Motor Corporation also supported the new-vehicle launch by dispatching more than 100 engineers from Japan at AAI for as long as a year to assure product quality meets Mazda’s standards.

Ford Motor Company and Mazda Motor Corporation entered into a joint venture to create AutoAlliance International, Inc. in 1992. Past vehicle models produced at the facility include the Ford Probe, Mercury Cougar, Mazda MX-6 and Mazda 626. The assembly line design for the MAZDA6 sedan is flexible enough to accommodate the addition of the sport wagon and five-door body styles with no production shutdown.

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