Mazda recently held a groundbreaking ceremony at the construction site of its new transmission plant in Thailand’s Chonburi province, Mazda Powertrain Manufacturing Thailand Co Ltd (MPMT). Operations are expected to start in the first half of Mazda’s fiscal year ending March 2016.

MPMT will produce around 400,000 Skyactiv-Drive transmissions per year. Combined with the output from Mazda’s Hofu Plant in Japan, Skyactiv transmission production capacity will rise to 1.54 million units per year globally. This month, Mazda announced plans to increase production at Hofu from 750,000 to 1,140,000 units per year.

“Skyactiv technology is gaining wide acclaim all around the world. Establishing our second transmission plant, MPMT, here in Thailand will greatly enhance our Skyactiv production system and ensure that we can meet future demand for our products. This will not only help ensure Mazda’s continued growth into the future, but also make a significant contribution to the development of the automotive industry in Thailand,” said Seita Kanai, Mazda’s vice chairman of the board.

Mazda is targeting global car sales of 1.7 million units by fiscal year ending March 2016 and 80% of those are expected to feature Skyactiv tech. Expanding the company’s global production footprint is one of the initiatives of Mazda’s Structural Reform Plan.

Locally, Mazda Malaysia recently acquired a body shop from Inokom and has started construction of a new assembly facility. The brand assembles the Mazda 3 and CX-5 SUV here. Handsome new Mazda 3 to be locally assembled next?