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Mazda, stung by China’s COVID lockdowns, seeks parts elsewhere

TOKYO — Mazda Motor Corp. said on Friday it would ask its parts suppliers to increase stockpiles in Japan and produce components outside China after COVID-19 lockdowns in Shanghai destabilized supply lines and hampered production.

The request from the Hiroshima-based automaker underscores the vulnerability of sprawling supply chains that have been tested by the pandemic and geopolitical tensions, casting uncertainty over businesses.

The Japanese automaker reported on Tuesday an operating loss of 19.5 billion yen ($144.4 million) for the first quarter of its financial year, due to disruptions resulting from stringent COVID-19 counter-measures in China.

Mazda said it brought chips and crucial auto parts to China to be assembled, but was unable to receive those components from Shanghai during the city’s lockdown.

Even if Mazda’s direct suppliers were Japanese and European companies, they still had parts coming through China, said Takeshi Mukai, the automaker’s senior managing executive officer.
 

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