Said Mulally, "Ford and Mazda have one of the most successful partnerships in automotive history. I firmly believe that Mazda's employees are committed to achieving sustained and continued growth going forward. Mazda is, and will continue to be, a key partner in Ford Motor Company's business plans—particularly in the areas of R&D, product development and manufacturing. The relationship between the two companies' top management has never been better, and I fully expect the deep ties between Ford and Mazda to extend into the future and become even stronger."
Mazda's President Imaki welcomed Mulally, adding, "Everyone at Mazda recognizes that product-led growth is one of the best contributions we can make to our partnership with Ford as we continue our efforts to strengthen the Mazda brand. In the future, I would like to further develop our global cooperation with Ford."
During his visit, Mulally toured Mazda's production facilities near its headquarters and delivered a motivational address to approximately 200 senior Mazda employees in the company's auditorium.
In 1979, Ford and Mazda entered into a capital tie-up when Ford acquired 25 percent of Mazda shares. Ford raised its stake in Mazda to 33.4 percent in 1996, strengthening the strategic relationship. Former Ford Chairman and CEO, Bill Ford, visited Mazda in June 2004 as Mazda and Ford celebrated the 25th anniversary of their historic capital tie-up. Today's visit by Mulally comes two years and eight months after the last visit to Mazda by Ford's top-ranking executive.