MPMT is Mazda’s first transmission plant outside Japan and had already begun mass production of the SKYACTIV-DRIVE automatic transmission six months ago with a capacity of 400,000 units per year. The automatic transmissions made there will be supplied to Mazda's production facilities in Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Mexico and China.
Additionally, pilot production of the SKYACTIV-D 1.5-litre diesel engine has already begun at the engine plant at MPMT with mass production scheduled to begin in the last quarter of 2015. Its start will mark the completion of a comprehensive framework for the production of SKYACTIV models in Thailand, including manufacture of engines, transmissions and vehicle assembly.
The SKYACTIV-D engine is found on the Mazda 2 and CX-3 and with fuel companies beginning to offer high grade Euro5 diesel in Malaysia, could this mean that diesel-powered Mazdas will be making their way here?
In Thailand, the Mazda 2 is offered in both diesel and petrol engines with a 1.5-litre SKYACTIV-D and a recently introduced 1.3-litre SKYACTIV-G (petrol). Closer to home, only the 1.5-litre SKYACTIV-G engine is offered for the 2.
As for the CX-3, it has yet to be launched in Thailand although spyshots of the compact crossover have been posted online. The Mazda CX-3 is estimated to arrive in Malaysia later this year with tentative prices starting at RM120k.
"With the start of operations at MPMT, Thailand becomes the first production base outside Japan where Mazda is able to conduct comprehensive vehicle manufacture, including production of engines and transmissions and vehicle assembly," said Mazda's Representative Director, President and CEO, Masamichi Kogai at the ceremony. "Mazda will continue to make our utmost efforts to contribute to the sustained growth of the automobile industry and economy of Thailand."