Mazda has announced that it will construct a transmission plant in Thailand’s Chonburi Province in response to increasing demand for SkyActiv-equipped models.

To be located about 5 km away from the Mazda-Ford JV facility, AutoAlliance Thailand (AAT), the new ¥26 billion (RM8.8 billion) plant will supply SkyActiv-Drive auto gearboxes for SkyActiv models produced at AAT and other Mazda facilities around the world.

The annual production capacity will be around 400,000 units, with operations set to begin in the first half of the fiscal year ending March 2016.

Mazda board chairman and CEO Takashi Yamanouchi said the Hofu, Japan plant (in Nakanoseki District) would, however, remain the chief production facility for transmissions.

“Mazda is establishing global production footprints in order to achieve our goal of an annual global sales volume of 1.7 million units by fiscal year ending March 2016,” he said. “(The Chonburi plant) will establish a production system capable of responding to the changing demands of our customers in a flexible and timely manner. We will make use of the knowledge and experience gained through AAT to ensure the success of the new plant in cooperation with the people of Thailand.”

In accordance with the decision, a new affiliate company – Mazda Powertrain Manufacturing (Thailand) Co Ltd – is to be established.

If Chonburi sounds familiar, it’s because Mitsubishi makes the Mirage there, at the Laem Chabang Industrial Estate.