FORD'S Chinese joint venture suspended production of the new Mazda 3 one month after it went on sale in China.
A spokesman from Chang'an Ford Motors Corp, the producer of Mazda 3, confirmed the suspension, but refused to identify the reason.
"We have actively negotiated with all the concerned parties and hope to resume the production as soon as possible," said He Miao, an official from Mazda Motors Corp Shanghai Consulting Co.
Mazda 3, a smaller than the popular Mazda 6, was introduced to the Chinese market on March 8, priced at around 178,000 yuan (US$22,222), competing with Sunny made by Nissan Motor Corp, Corolla of Toyota Motors Corp as well as Bora from FAW Volkswagen Automobile Corp.
"The suspension is likely caused by a split on the production and sales channel between Chang'an Ford Motors Corp and FAW Mazda sales company during their consolidation of the Chinese market," said Hu Song, an auto analyst from Haitong Securities Co Ltd.
Mazda 3 was made by Chang'an Ford, Ford's venture with Chang'an Automobile Corp, in Chongqing plant while its sales channel was controlled by FAW Mazda sales, Mazda's venture with First Automotive Works Group, China's largest automaker.
"The pricing of Mazda 3 is uncompetitive compared with others, which may also have resulted in the complicated internal organization," according to one Mazda dealer, adding he hadn't received any notice from FAW Mazda about how they would deal with the purchase order.
"The suspension may turn some of the car's potential buyers away as they cannot wait under an uncertain timetable,"he said.