Mazda has been trying to move upmarket these past couple of years. With more dramatic looking designs, more high-end features, and premium pricing, it seems that the Japanese automaker wants to be the step in between Toyotas and Lexus vehicles. However, it looks like the global pandemic has put the brakes on that.
According to Nikkei Asian Review, Mazda is seeking a $2.8 billion loan to help them ride out the current situation. With production disruptions and declining sales even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the company might be in a bit of a tight spot right now. While all automakers were affected by the virus, Mazda is a small automaker compared to the likes of Toyota and Honda. Even large Japanese automakers such as Nissan and Mitsubishi are greatly affected, so the impact on Mazda might be even greater given their size.
The report stated that Mazda is looking at three banks to get that loan. These are Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, and Mizuho Financial Group. Other banks that were mentioned were the Development Bank of Japan and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings.
It's worth noting that several banks have a small stake in Mazda. Japan Trustee Services Banks owns 6.6% of the automaker, the Master Trust Bank owns 4.7%, while Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation has 2.2%. It is also possible that Mazda could seek help from Toyota, given that the company owns 5% of them. Mazda has declined to comment on the matter, per the Nikkei report.
Nikkei added that, with no all-new car launches within the next two years, Mazda faces a rocky road ahead. The newest cars to come out of Mazda are the CX-30 and MX-30, their first mass-produced electric vehicle. Most of the brand's current models have either been fully redesigned or updated recently.
Now, this isn't the first time Mazda might be needing financial assistance. The company nearly folded in the '70s during the oil crisis and experienced major downturns during the last two financial crises. Mazda has weathered those storms for the most part, and if the automaker does get that cash boost, they could see a secure future within the next few years.