Media: Ford wants to reduce stake in Mazda

October 18th, 2010  |  Published in In the Media, Mobility & Space, TechWatch Japan

A further reduction of Ford’s stake in Mazda from 11 to 3 percent would not come as a surprise, the TechWatcher writes in the Austrian daily “Der Standard”.

After the outbreak of the financial crisis Ford had already started to reduce its stake from 33,4 percent to 13,4. A further capital increase by Mazda diluted Ford’s share further.

Both companies still deny it, but it looks as if one of the longest and most fruitful partnerships in the car industry comes to an end. Ford bought its way into Japanese know-how in 1979. And in the end the teacher benefited tremendously from the excellence of his student in small cars. The Ford Fiesta and the Ford Fusion are being built on platforms developed under the leadership of Mazda.

Furthermore, Mazda proved to be the best breeding ground for Ford executives. Mark Fields, head of Ford’s American operation, and Lewis Booth, the CFO, both won their spurs in Japan.

And in fact, both companies started already to wind up the relationship. The latest step is the separation of their trilateral joint venture in China in two bilateral one’s.

For Mazda, the end of the relationship means, that it has to find a new partner, because with 1,2 million cars sold and almost no profits it is way to small and to weak to survive the global competition on its own. Especially, it needs help in the development of new powertrains, like hybrids (Mazda buys technology from Toyota) and eCars.

Unfortunately, as of now there is no white knight on the horizon. And personally the TechWatcher wonders, what Mazda really has to offer to any potential buyer. The Wankel engine in the RX 8 is a technological jewel, but it will never become a big hit.

But maybe the production technologies and the brand name are bait enough, to attract a Chinese buyer. Chinese car companies are on a buying spree already. And they will have to increase it, because the country will have to pump out the dollar reserves it sits on to keep the bubbles at home in check. No one will be save.

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