Mazda to invest in U.S. to boost market share Capital will allow use of incentives

December 29, 1996|By BUSINESS BUSINESS NEWS

TOKYO -- Mazda Motor Corp. will invest $126 million in its money-losing U.S. distribution arm to improve its finances, expand sales and raise its stake to 88 percent.

Mazda's U.S. sales fell almost 16 percent to 223,445 vehicles this year through November, compared with the same period a year earlier.

Irvine, Calif.-based Mazda Motor of America Inc. has been unprofitable for at least the past two years, said Mazda spokesman Hiro Akutagawa.

The extra capital will allow the distributor "to use customer incentives and incentives to dealers to expand sales," Akutagawa said. It also will improve its financial situation, he said.

Mazda's stake in Mazda Motor of America Inc. is 50 percent. The rest is held by trading houses Itochu Corp. and Sumitomo Corp.

Mazda's U.S. sales operation isn't profitable because of declining sales and the strength of the yen the past two years, Akutagawa said.

Mazda is trying to restructure with the help of Ford Motor Co., which took effective control in April by raising its stake to just over one-third. It installed Ford executive Henry D.G. Wallace in June.

Pub Date: 12/29/96

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