You never can tell what relationships are going to make it and which ones are going to fail. After 31 years of wedded pseudo-bliss, Ford has announced that they’re selling most of their remaining stake in Mazda, despite last months announcement that things were fine between the two automakers. Ford reduced their Mazda holdings in 2008, paring it back from 33.4% to 13.8%. In November of 2009, a Mazda public offering further reduced Ford’s share to around 11%, and the current sell-off will leave Ford with less than a 3% share in Mazda.
The two companies have shared platforms, motors and assembly plants throughout the years. The ill-fated Mercury Capri roadster of the early 1990s came with the same 1.6 liter four used in Mazda’s Miata, and the current generation Miata uses a Ford Duratec motor. The compact Ford Courier pickup was a rebadged Mazda B-Series truck, and Mazda began selling Ford Ranger pickups under their B-Series brand in the 1990s. The Flat Rock assembly plant, which was jointly owned by Mazda and Ford, cranked out Mazda 6 sedans alongside of Ford Mustangs. The list of cooperative projects only goes on from here.
The sale will help Ford strengthen their financial position, but it’s unknown how it will impact Mazda in the long term. Sumitomo Banking Corporation is expected to buy the bulk of the shares, which will make the Sumitomo group the largest singly shareholder in Mazda when the transaction is completed.
Source: Left Lane News