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Mazda back in the black

Mazda has vowed to continue its aggressive cost cutting drive and axe jobs in the boardroom, despite announcing record turnaround profits. Japan's fifth largest carmaker, which is one-third owned by Ford, reported a group net profit of Yen 88bn (£472m) for the year ending March 31, up on last year's losses of more than Yen 155.2bn (£831m).

“Mazda is back in the black. We are meeting all our performance targets,” says Mazda president Mark Fields, who is set to head Ford Premier Automotive Group from July. “2002 is a pivotal year for Mazda, the launch pad for our blitz on the global marketplace.”

The firm has vowed to continue its turnaround plan and has raised its cost cutting target from 15 per cent to 20 per cent by 2005.

Mazda also intends to reduce the size of its European boardroom with the number of directors cut from 23 to nine. Executive officers will be selected from the current line-up of directors to serve for a one-year term.

At a high-powered London meeting this week, Mazda executives led by Fields and Steve Odell, Mazda Motor Europe president, will outline the future of the company.

Professor Peter Cooke, head of the Institute of Automotive Manage-ment Studies at Nottingham Business School, expects Mazda to flesh out the future of its relationship with Ford.

“The important question is how its relationship with Ford will develop and whether it will use the Mazda brand in the Far East in the same way that Volkswagen has scored a success with the Seat and Skoda brands in Europe,” he says.

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