Mazda to exit venture with Ford, paper in Japan says

Mazda plans to leave its joint venture with Ford and stop building cars in the U.S., the Nikkei financial daily reported Friday. Mazda and Ford operate the AutoAlliance International plant in Flat Rock as a 50-50 partnership.

Citing unnamed company sources, the Nikkei said Mazda is considering selling its stake to Ford as the Japanese automaker tries to restructure its global production.

Mazda cars sold in the U.S. will be shipped from Japan and Mexico starting around 2013, according to the Nikkei. In response, Mazda issued a short statement saying the report was not based on information it had released.

"Mazda and Ford are jointly studying various possibilities for AAI, and we have nothing to announce at this time," Mazda said. "We do not comment on speculation."

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