IRVINE — Mazda Motor of America said Friday that it has laid off 50 employees, including 35 at its Irvine headquarters, as part of a reorganization aimed at cutting costs and making the company more competitive.
Employees who were laid off were told that Friday was their last day, said Jay Amestoy, vice president of corporate relations. He said those who lost their jobs are being given severance packages and assistance in finding jobs. He would not elaborate.
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday September 26, 1995 Orange County Edition Business Part D Page 2 Financial Desk 2 inches; 38 words Type of Material: Correction
Mazda executive--In Sept. 6 and Sept. 9 articles about layoffs at Mazda Motor of America Inc., The Times mischaracterized the departure of Mike Anzis. Contrary to information provided by Mazda, Anzis resigned as vice president of information systems before the layoffs.
Jobs cut ranged from clerical to middle-management levels and spanned all departments, Amestoy said.
The latest cuts reduce the company's work force to 800 from a peak of 1,300 in the United States in 1992. Mazda Motor of America laid off about 450 people, including several top executives, in 1993 amid a global recession and a yen-dollar imbalance that cut into profits from its U.S. sales.
Amestoy said weak sales and a continued strong yen were responsible for the latest round of cuts. The strong yen effectively raises Mazda's operating costs in the United States by slashing the value of the dollars earned here.
Mazda Motor of America, which imports Japanese-made Mazda cars and distributes imported and domestically produced Mazda cars and trucks throughout the United States, has seen sales drop by 19% this year.
Analysts have said that while the company's product line is strong, Mazda has failed to market itself effectively. The company recently put its estimated $200-million annual advertising program out to bid, but at the last minute awarded it to the same agency, Foote, Cone & Belding, that has been doing Mazda's ads since the company came to the United States in 1972.
The new campaign, still under development, will concentrate on Mazda's core product: the Protege, 626 and Millenia sedans. Mazda has stoped selling its 323 economy car and the Ford-built two-door Navajo sports utility vehicle. Some analysts say weak sales also are likely to kill the MX-3 sports coupe and the 929 sedan that had been Mazda's top-of-the-line model until the Millenia was introduced last year.
Mazda officials said that as part of the restructuring plan, a new management position will be created to oversee national and regional marketing programs, product planning and sales training. Additionally, the company's customer satisfaction department will report directly to Mazda Motor of America's president, Yoji Toyama. It had been part of the parts and service division. Mazda last week laid off the vice presidents of that division and of its information systems unit.