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Ford sells remaining stake in Mazda

TOKYO -- Ford Motor sold its remaining interest in Mazda Motor by the end of September, winding down a capital partnership that lasted well over three decades, The Nikkei learned Friday.

     The U.S. company took a 25% stake back in 1979, when the Japanese automaker was reeling from the second oil crisis. Ford raised its stake to 33.4% in 1996 and sent four managers to fill Mazda's presidency between that year and 2003.

     Ford gradually reduced its holdings after the 2008 financial crisis put the American carmaker on shaky footing. The duo's operational partnership also weakened in 2012 with the end of Mazda vehicle production at a U.S. joint venture.

     Ford's stake had shrunk to a little over 2%, in part because of Mazda's issuance of additional shares, before the American automaker sold it off in the April-September half.

     The two will maintain existing joint operations, including Thai production of pickup trucks and a Chinese engine plant operated with Changan Automobile.

     Mazda expects a record operating profit in the year ending March 2016, thanks to brisk sales of new autos including the CX-5 sport utility vehicle. The end to Ford's investment symbolizes a full comeback by the Japanese company.


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