The Chinese government has approved Mazda’s investment in the Changan Ford Automobile joint venture.

The restructured company has been renamed as Changan Ford Mazda Automobile Co (CFMA). With the completion of the investment fund transfer, this equity restructuring marks another major step forward in the three-party partnership in China, following the three parties’ joint announcement on the commencement of the production of Mazda’s 3 in Changan Ford’s Chongqing Plant on 27 February.

Changan, Ford and Mazda hold 50%, 35% and 15% shares in CFMA, respectively. The 15% shares owned by Mazda in CFMA were transferred by Ford from the company’s 50% shareholding originally held in Changan Ford.

The long-term, strategic partnership among Mazda, Ford and Changan in China has been developing fast over the past two years. The three parties are jointly building a brand new vehicle assembly plant in Nanjing, the second manufacturing base of CFMA, which is able to produce both Mazda and Ford brand cars.

This is expected to open in 2007, with an initial annual capacity of 160,000 units.

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The three parties are also jointly expanding the capacity of the Chongqing plant of CFMA, which now claims an annual capacity of 150,000 units, and will be further expanded to 200,000 units by May this year.

Part of the expanded capacity in Chongqing is being used for the production of the 3. Adjacent to the Nanjing assembly plant is the three-party joint venture Changan Ford Mazda Engine, which is being constructed and will be operational in 2007. The engine company is also able to produce both Ford and Mazda motors, and will supply the three parties’ vehicle assembly operations in China.