Mazda Philippines has ended the production of the current-generation Mazda 3 at Ford Group Philippines' Santa Rosa, Laguna, plant in preparation for the local launch of the second-generation model later this year. The problem, however, is that the new Mazda 3 won't be assembled in the Philippines anymore.
This was revealed by Anika Salceda-Wycoco, Ford Group Philippines' assistant vice president for communications, who added that more information on the new Mazda 3--including where the Philippine market model will be sourced from--will be made available "closer to launch."
Despite the cessation of the first-generation Mazda 3's production at the Santa Rosa plant, the facility will still continue to churn out the current-generation Ford Focus and Escape for the local market. However, this means the Philippines no longer has a car manufacturer and assembler that exports its products outside of the country, a role which Ford Group Philippines once fulfilled.
"Our manufacturing operations will continue in 2012 with the current Focus and Escape," clarified Salceda-Wycoco. "With the shift in production of the all-new Focus to Thailand later this year, we continue to study new product program opportunities for the Philippines as part of our regional growth plan."
With the second-generation Mazda 3 now being produced in Thailand and with the production of the third-generation Ford Focus scheduled to begin in the same country later this year, it certainly looks like that's where we'll be getting these cars from.
Let's hope that Ford can still find a way to make use of the Santa Rosa plant for employment's sake. Perhaps it can be used to assemble the next-generation Escape or even the production version of the EcoSport. Do you have any bright ideas on what Ford can use the facility for in the near future?
UPDATE: According to Ford Group Philippines, the current-generation Focus and Escape will still be exported to other markets.