Mazda Motor Corporation said on Thursday that the paint shop at its Ujina No.1 Plant (U1) that was damaged during a fire in December 2004 is to be completely restored, resuming full production with integrated painting and vehicle assembly in April 2005.

Initial estimates of a 70,000 unit production loss have also been revised. An estimated additional 40,000 units were 'recovered' for the production schedule by having an adjacent plant paint them ready for final assembly in the undamaged part of U1. This has resulted in a reduced loss of an estimated 30,000 units due to the fire.

Mazda said it is on track to make a rapid recovery from the fire in approximately four months - faster than the over-six months restoration period originally estimated.

This is due to a module-based construction system that has reduced both construction time on the affected area of the building and the time required to install new production equipment.

An 'eco-friendly' three layer wet paint system will also be introduced to the newly refurbished U1 line and is one of the reasons Mazda will be able to complete the restoration project so quickly.

Production of the MX-5 roadster, RX-8 sportscar, and Bongo and Bongo Brawny vans will resume in mid-February at U1 by utilising the paint shop of the adjacent Ujina No.2 Plant (U2) and at other company facilities.

Manufacture of the Demio (2) and Verisa began earlier while MPV (5) production is scheduled to start at the end of January.

With the exception of the Bongo Friendee van, Mazda will by then have restarted production of all models previously produced on the U1 line before the fire.

To avoid disturbing to people living near the plant, temporary soundproofing, for example, has been installed to reduce construction noise.