Mazda Motor Corporation has marked total production of 40m units in Japan with a ceremony at its Ujina Plant No. 2 near its headquarters in Hiroshima.

Top executives were on hand as the nominated vehicle 40,000,000 - a new 2 [export version of the Demio] - came off the line. The milestone was achieved 75 years and nine months after Mazda began production of three-wheeled trucks in October 1931.

The automaker began as a manufacturer of light trucks and moved into passenger cars with production of the R360 Coupe minicar in 1960.

The company has a reputation for innovative manufacturing techniques.  These include the body-flip system introduced at Hofu in the early 1990s which rotates cars so that workers can fit under-body parts easily and the recently introduced three layer wet paint and integrated scheduled production systems resulting in what the automaker bills a "uniquely flexible and high quality synchronised production line".