The US Inflation Reduction Act, which offers generous incentives for manufacturers who are building EVs and batteries in North America, has forced many companies to rethink their electrification plans and shift their focus to North American manufacturing.
Japanese automaker Mazda seems to be among these companies, even though its electrification journey is only just beginning. CEO Masahiro Moro recently said Mazda is considering localized production of electric vehicles in North America from around 2028.
Mind you, Mazda leans more toward Mexico than the US as the destination of its future EV plant. Speaking to the media last week, Moro said North American production of EVs would likely begin in the 2028-2030 stage of a new mid-term business plan introduced in November.
The plan calls for allocating $10.6 billion (1.5 trillion yen) to electrification through 2030, with a full-EV ramp up scheduled to start from 2028. That's slightly later than previous CEO Akira Marumoto's estimate in the second half of the 2025-2027 second stage.
"Our assumption for North American production of EVs is phase three timing," Moro was quoted as saying by Automotive News. He added that Mazda is planning to varieties of all-electric models.
Gallery: 2022 Mazda MX-30: First Drive
One kind will be an EV based on an existing architecture that also accommodates internal combustion and hybrid powertrains, while the other will be a dedicated EV platform. Both will be introduced in the 2025-2027 stage two, but production is expected to begin in Japan, Moro said.
Mazda currently has only two production sites in North America, an assembly plant in Salamanca, Mexico, where it builds the Mazda2, Mazda3, CX-3 and CX-30, and a joint venture plant with Toyota in Huntsville, Alabama, where the CX-50 crossover is made. Mazda can build 150,000 vehicles a year in Huntsville.
When asked whether Mazda is considering building EVs in Alabama, Moro said, "At this point, we're not thinking about it," adding that Mazda must also consult with its partner Toyota before introducing an EV there.
Instead, the automaker will consider Mexico when the time comes to weigh its options. Moro noted that Mazda didn't "have the money" to invest in a new factory just to produce EVs in North America.
Mazda expects EVs to account for between 25 and 40 percent of its global sales in 2030. The company currently has only one all-electric vehicle on sale, the MX-30 crossover.