Mazda Motor Corporation said it began production of its new CX-50 crossover SUV, targeted at North America, at the new Mazda Toyota Manufacturing, USA plant jointly constructed with Toyota Motor Corporation in Huntsville, Alabama.

The CX-50 is Mazda’s first vehicle to be manufactured at the plant.

“Building on our sales network reforms and the provision of products satisfying the needs of local customers, as well as now beginning production for CX-50, we have renewed our determination to become a company that North American customers will keep choosing,” the automaker said in a statement.

Since 2016, Mazda has been trying to strengthen its sales in the US, its most important market, based on a medium-term management plan which spans the fiscal years ending March 2020 to March 2026. The efforts include upgrading dealerships, introducing sales finance, and reforming sales operations.

The CX-50 is said to “meet the lifestyle and needs of North American customers through its design that respectfully interacts with the outdoors, its strong and highly efficient powertrain in combination with an AWD system fitted across the board, and its high running stability off-road”.

“With production kicking off at a new plant equipped with the latest technology developed through the shared knowledge of Toyota and Mazda, we have put in place a production and supply system that enables timely delivery of high-quality products to our customers,” the automaker added.

“The CX-50 is a model that serves as the driving force for Mazda’s business growth in North America,” said Takeshi Mukai, senior managing executive officer.

“We would like to see the plant taking root in the local community by offering employment opportunities and creating a supply chain in the region. And as a good US corporate citizen, we are committed to nurture it into a production plant that shares a close connection with the local community.”