Mazda Motor has started commercial operations in Mexico by opening dealerships in the country's three main cities.

According to the Associated Press (AP), Mazda said that in a first phase, it will offer three models: the 3 subcompact in four-door and hatchback versions, the 5 minivan [currently under a cloud in the US due to inexplicable exhaust fires] and the 6 sedan.

Mazda reportedy said the cars will sold through independent distributors backed by a multinational management team reporting to its central offices in Hiroshima, Japan and its offices in Irvine, California.

AP said the company is starting out with four dealerships - two in Mexico City and one each in Guadalajara and Monterrey - and has plans to open others in the states of Mexico, Guanajuato, Yucatan, Puebla and Sonora.

A spokesman for Mazda Motor de Mexico told the news agency the first 3 and 5 models already have been imported from Japan, while the 6 will come from the United States.

The Associated Press noted that domestic new car sales in Mexico have remained buoyant despite a production downturn in recent years brought on by falling demand in the United States.