Mazda Motor Corporation has held an opening ceremony to mark the start of operations of its new vehicle testing ground - named the Mine Proving Ground - in Mine City, Yamaguchi Prefecture, in western Japan.

"The Mine Proving Ground will play a very important role for Mazda in promoting the 'reinforcement of R&D,' one of the Mazda Momentum mid-term business plan's four key measures," said Mazda CEO and president, Hisakazu Imaki.

"It will function as another vehicle testing facility to complement the existing Miyoshi Proving Ground."

Mazda has a manufacturing site in Hofu City, Yamaguchi Prefecture, consisting of two vehicle assembly plants and one transmission assembly plant. The Hofu plant complex is a core manufacturing site in the region, accounting for approximately 71% of Hofu City's, and roughly 13% of Yamaguchi Prefecture's, total value of manufactured goods shipped.

The establishment of the Mine Proving Ground in Yamaguchi Prefecture reflects the increased importance of this area for Mazda.