Mazda Motor Corporation today (July 23) announced that a Job One ceremony was held at AutoAlliance International Inc. in Flat Rock, Michigan to celebrate the first United States production of the North American all-new Mazda6.

The all-new Mazda6 inherits and further evolves the sporty styling and superb driving performance of the first generation Mazda6. The North American model features a larger body and greater engine displacement to meet the particular demands of the North American market with handling and comfort being optimized for North American road conditions. Two spirited engines will be available: the newly developed 2.5-liter direct injection I-4 that drives the European and Japanese versions of the all-new Mazda6 and –for extra performance– the 3.7-liter V6 that powers the Mazda CX-9, the 2008 North American Truck of the Year.

Speaking at the ceremony, AutoAlliance International's president and CEO, Gary A. Roe said, "The North American all-new Mazda6 has a special significance for us because it was developed exclusively to meet the needs of the North American market and is being built right here at AAI. Our dedication to build quality cars will ensure the Mazda6 succeeds amid a very challenging sales environment."

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James J. O'Sullivan, president and CEO of Mazda North American Operations added, "The midsize sedan segment is crowded with many of the best vehicles from Asia, Europe, and the US. Even under these circumstances, we are confident the North American all-new Mazda6 will be highly competitive."

Mazda's president and CEO, Hisakazu Imaki, remarked, "It is an honor to be here at AutoAlliance International to celebrate the North American all-new Mazda6 production kickoff. AutoAlliance International symbolizes the strong cooperative relationship that has benefited both Mazda and Ford for many years. Going forward, we will continue to provide our customers with the highest quality products in order to further strengthen Mazda's presence in North America. This will bring us closer to achieving the targets of our mid-term Mazda Advancement Plan."

Also attending the ceremony was Garry L. Sommerville, chairman of the UAW Local 3000, and approximately 900 AutoAlliance International employees.

Mazda began vehicle production in North America at Mazda Motor Manufacturing (USA) Corporation in 1987. The MMUC plant in Flat Rock, Michigan, became a joint venture between the Mazda Motor Corporation and the Ford Motor Company in 1992, when the name was changed to AutoAlliance International, Inc. Previous Mazda models produced at the facility include the Mazda MX-6 and Mazda 626. The first generation Mazda6 commenced production at AAI in 2002.