BEIJING, May 1 (Xinhua) -- Japan's Mazda Motor Corp. said Thursday it has spent 49.5 million yuan (7.2 million U.S. dollars) to raise it stake in a joint venture sales company in China.
The deal allowed Japan's third-largest car maker to increase its share in FAW-Mazda Motor Sales Corp. to 40 percent from 25 percent. Mazda's investment increased the joint venture's registered capital from 100 million yuan to 125 million yuan, according to Friday's China Daily.
Analysts said an increased stake in the sales company will help Mazda become more profitable as it gears up expansion in China to offset slowing sales elsewhere due to the global recession.
The Japanese auto maker sold a company record of 37,217 units in the first quarter, an increase of 22 percent from a year earlier, fueled by government stimulus measures for small car purchases and more dealerships, according to Noriaki Yamada, president and chief operating officer of Mazda Motor (China) Co..
Mazda had 125 dealerships in China at the end of March. The figure is expected to reach 140 by year end.
Mazda also has a three-party venture with Chang'an Automobile Co and Ford Motor Co in China, producing Mazda 3 sedans and Mazda 2 compact cars.