Mazda Motor Corporation, one third owned by Ford, said on Monday it would suspend operations at its US plant for a week in each of May and July, helping to achieve its forecast 24% increase in net income this year, Bloomberg News said.

Other reports said that net profit at Mazda reached 24.1 billion yen ($US206 million) in the fiscal year ended March 31, a rise of nearly twofold from 8.8 billion the previous year.

Bloomberg News, citing a company press release, said Mazda expects net income to rise to 30 billion yen ($US257 million) in the year started April 1, from 24.1 billion yen last year.

The car maker also said it would halt US output between May 19 and May 23, and from July 14 until July 18 to reduce inventories, Bloomberg News added.

The news agency said Mazda is counting on new model releases in its home market, the US and Europe to raise profit this year, countering the effect of a stronger yen against the dollar. It is trying to trim US inventories after sales of the 6/Atenza in the world's biggest car market got off to a slow start, the report added.

"The company is doing extremely well in Europe," Akihide Kinugawa, who helps manage the equivalent of $171 million at T&D Asset Management, told Bloomberg News. "The issue for them now is to sort out North America where their inventories are far too high."

Bloomberg News said that Mazda has said that, unlike Europe, where the 6/Atenza has been a success, demand for the model in the US was initially disappointing because of uncompetitive leasing prices and the sedan's introduction into a market where incentives were peaking. Sales in the US fell 6.7% this year.

Bloomberg News, citing company data, noted that Mazda's profit forecast is less than the company's record 31.1 billion yen earned in the year ended October 1985. Sales will probably rise 2% to 2.42 trillion yen as Mazda doesn't expect the sort of gains from currency fluctuations it got the year just ended.

Mazda executive officer Kiyoshi Ozaki told Bloomberg News that the company is increasing capital expenditure by a quarter this year, to 55 billion yen as it spends more on logistics and invests in increasing efficiency.

Mazda's annual production at the Ford-shared plant in Michigan would be about 100,000 units if there were no suspension of output, Ozaki said, according to Bloomberg News.