Japanese automaker Mazda Motor said it started training the initial group of workers for its new plant in Mexico at its Hiroshima headquarters on Thursday.
The Mexican plant, which is expected to open in 2013, will be Mazda’s first in Latin America.
Up to 180 Mexican workers will be trained from now through fiscal year 2013, which ends in March 2014, at the Hiroshima headquarters, Mazda said.
The plant is currrently under construction and is expected to open in March 2014, Mazda said in a statement.
About a dozen Mexican workers hired to be production supervisors at the plant in Salamanca, a city in Guanajuato state, started the training course on Thursday.
The training course started with a tour of the Mazda museum and classes on preventing workplace injuries.
The Mexican workers will begin learning about production methods, quality control and leadership skills in the next few days, Mazda said.
The trainees will meet with Japanese workers and people from nearby communities, with many of the Mexicans taking a six-week Japanese language course and classes on Japan’s business culture.
Mazda managing executive officer in charge of emerging markets Keishi Egawa welcomed the trainees.
The new plant will help “improve business opportunities in Mexico, Central (America) and South America, and it will be a key to production in the company’s future global aspirations,” Egawa said.
Mazda, which entered the Mexican market in October 2005, has gradually gained market share, selling a record 30,000 units in the last fiscal year.
The Japanese automaker broke ground on its Mexican plant in October 2011.
Mazda projects initial production of 100,000 units annually at the plant, which will manufacture the Mazda2 and Mazda3 models for sale in Mexico, Brazil and other markets in Latin America.