Nanjing -- Ford, Mazda and Changan Automotive Group jointly announced today that the Chinese central government has granted approval for a joint venture manufacturing facility in the Jiangning Economic & Technological Development Zone (NJDZ) near Nanjing, in the Jiangsu Province. The approval is another important step forward in the growing cooperation between Ford, Mazda and Changan Automotive in China.

The all-new vehicle manufacturing facility will be the first in China for all three companies working together. The 190,000 square meter facility will have an initial manufacturing capacity of 160,000 units a year and could be expanded to as many as 200,000 units annually.

Highly flexible and capable of producing a number of different Ford and Mazda vehicles, the new plant will be fully integrated to support stamping, body assembly, paint, trim and final assembly. Using the Mazda manufacturing process as a blueprint, the jointly developed manufacturing facility will feature the latest safety and environmental standards to ensure the plant is friendly to both people and the surrounding ecosystem.

The new plant is part of the $1 billion investment that Ford Motor Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bill Ford announced during his visit to China in October 2003. Mazda is expected to participate in the project by having an equity stake in Changan Ford.

"This is an important next step in expanding in China," said Mark Schulz, Ford Motor Company executive vice president. "The progress we have been able to make, thanks to the support of central and provincial authorities in China, is gratifying."

"With Mazda joining us in this new project, we expand our ongoing cooperation that has us building vehicles together on four continents," Schulz said. "By using a combination of Mazda's manufacturing expertise and Changan's deep knowledge of China, all of us will benefit."

Mazda's Hisakazu Imaki, president and chief executive officer, added, "The plant in Nanjing is a key part of Mazda's overall business strategy in China. Working with Changan Group and Ford, and putting to use Mazda's noted strengths in manufacturing capabilities, we will build a plant able to deliver world-class quality and efficiency. We are confident that the new plant will produce vehicles both high in quality and performance; vehicles that are exciting to drive and able to deliver the level of quality Chinese customers certainly deserve."

"Nanjing is an ideal location," said Yin Jiaxu, president of Changan Automotive Group. "Our operations with Ford in Chongqing are being expanded and production is going well. This new location and Mazda's participation will enable us to grow even faster and to serve the populous eastern provinces of China even better."

All three partners in the venture will cooperate to develop and operate the new plant. Ying Zhan Wang, former Vice President Technology of Changan Ford, is appointed General Manager of the new plant, putting to work his experience in Chongqing. Masahiro Araki, former Production Engineering Division Manager of Mazda Motor Corporation, is appointed Vice President of Operations. Albert Li, former CFO of Ford Motor (China), is appointed Vice President of Business Operations. The plant will produce cars for both Mazda and Ford. Exact product details will be released at an appropriate time.

"China is easily the third largest automotive market in the world," Schulz noted. "With this new plant, we will be introducing more Ford and Mazda products to the Chinese consumer. But just as important, we will be introducing an entire company to them and the way we do business and how we care for the communities where we live and work."