It seems there might be some side effects to Mazda’s meteoric rise in popularity after all – the Nikkei Asian Review reports that the Japanese carmaker is running out of capacity at its main Hiroshima plant, forcing production of the Mazda CX-3 to be pushed out to the AutoAlliance Thailand plant in Rayong.

The move could take place as early as this year, as strong demand for cars like the CX-5 is expected to push Mazda’s Hiroshima and Hofu plants to run at 95% capacity this fiscal year, causing the company to rethink its strategy for the CX-3. President Masamichi Kogai previously said during the launch of the B-segment crossover in February that there were no plans to produce the car overseas.

The inheritance of production equipment from Ford – Mazda’s partner in the AutoAlliance joint venture – means that the Thai factory still has extra room. Rayong will import CKD kits from Japan to be assembled, with output projected to reach as much as several thousand units a month. If it comes to fruition, the CX-3 will join the Mazda 2, Ford Fiesta, Everest and Ranger and BT-50 pick-up twins in the Land of Smiles.


Apart from alleviating undercapacity in Japanese sites, the move of production to Thailand will also help reduce risks associated with currency exchanges through exports. It will also enable Mazda to dodge the heavy tariffs imposed by Thailand on imported vehicles.

Over the past few years, Japanese carmakers such as Subaru and Toyota have been hard at work optimising and consolidating their production facilities, opening plants closer to markets to avoid or mitigate import duties. The report states that seven out of the eight Japanese carmakers reach record levels of overseas production in the fiscal year of 2014.

Over in Malaysia, the Mazda CX-3 will make its local introduction sometime before the end of the year – it will reportedly arrive with a high specification, powered by a 150 hp/204 Nm 2.0 litre SkyActiv-G petrol engine, a six-speed SkyActiv-Drive automatic transmission and a choice of either front- or all-wheel drive. Prices are estimated to start around RM120k.