Japanese automaker Mazda Motor Corp has announced it will end its 15-year dealership arrangement with the Taiwanese unit of Ford Motor Co, saying that it plans to launch its own automobile sales unit in Taiwan in the second half of next year.
However, Mazda3 and Mazda5 models for the Taiwanese market will continue to be produced by Ford Lio Ho Motor Co (福特六和), Ford Motor’s unit in Taiwan.
The strategic transition will benefit both companies in the long term, Mazda Motor said in a press release.
“Establishing a unit in Taiwan will enable the company to strengthen the brand image and value by directly inputting more resources,” the Japanese car manufacturer said on Friday.
Ford Lio Ho said the move will help the company concentrate more on its own products in Taiwan.
The two companies’ cooperation in Taiwan dates back to 1999, when Ford Distribution Taiwan Ltd (品爵汽車) — a subsidiary of Ford Lio Ho — took the distribution rights in Taiwan for cars produced by Mazda Motor.
Ford Liao Ho is also in charge of manufacturing the Mazda3 and Mazda5 for the Japanese company.
The two companies said their global cooperation and partnership remain unchanged.
Ford Distribution will continue selling and servicing Mazda products during the transition period, Mazda said.
However, the transition has raised uncertainties as to whether Ford Liao Ho will continue to manufacture Mazda models to be sold in Taiwan in the future.
That Ford Motor has gradually sold its stake in Mazda Motor also indicated the relationship between the two automobile group’s cooperation is not as close as before.
Mazda’s sales in Taiwan totaled about 13,000 units last year, with Ford selling about 18,000 units, market data showed.
Combining sales from the two companies, the figure accounted for an 8.6 percent market share to make up the third-largest group in Taiwan’s automobile market, after Hotai Motor Co (和泰汽車) and Yulon Motor Co (裕隆汽車).