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Mazda says no decision on sale of Ford's stake

By The Associated Press Published: October 11, 2008
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TOKYO - Mazda denied Saturday that a decision had been made by troubled Ford Motor Co. to sell its stake in the Japanese automaker, but didn't rule out a possible deal.

Japanese media reported Saturday that Ford was considering selling its one-third stake in Hiroshima-based Mazda Motor Corp. Public broadcaster NHK, without citing sources, reported that Ford would maintain some of its stake in Mazda and management ties.

"Nothing has been decided," Mazda said in a statement received Saturday. "Any important decision will be disclosed."

Dearborn, Mich.-based Ford said in a statement, "We do not want to comment on speculation."

"Our relationship with Mazda has not changed," it said.

The move, should it happen, would be a symbolic retreat for U.S. automakers in Japan. General Motors Corp. similarly sold off its stakes in Japanese automakers in recent years.

Selling shares of Mazda, which makes the RX-8 sports car and Miata roadster, would furnish Ford with cash as it tries to turn around its business.

Ford has struggled amid a drastic downturn in U.S. auto sales, burning through nearly US$11 billion of its cash stockpile in the past year. It reported its worst-ever quarterly loss of US$8.7 billion in the second quarter.

Speculation has risen that Ford may file for bankruptcy, although it has denied that.

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