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RX-8 Production to Resume in mid-February
Submitted by Dan Mazzella on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 9:28am

Production of the RX-8 (along with the MX-5, and some JDM cars and vans) will resume in mid-February at U1 by utilizing the paint shop of the Ujina No.2 Plant (U2) and at other company's facilities for integrated production. The paint shop at the Ujina No.1 Plant (U1) that was damaged during a fire in December 2004 is to be completely restored, resuming full production with integrated painting and vehicle assembly in April 2005. Initial estimates of a 70,000 total unit production loss have also been revised, with strong recovery efforts Mazda has undertaken to produce an estimated additional 40,000 total units, resulting in a loss of an estimated 30,000 total units due to the fire's interruption. It was unlear what percentage of the loss were RX-8's.

Mazda has developed an advanced paint technology, the Three Layer Wet Paint System, which improves paint quality while reducing energy consumption. This system dispenses with the high-temperature "bake" normally necessary between the primer and the topcoat and shortens the painting process. It also features a control system that reduces the number of robots, resulting in a truncated installation time on the U1 line. The paint robot foundations are to be installed prior to the production facility being refurbished. The Three Layer Wet Paint system has already been implemented at Mazda's U2 Plant, Hofu No. 1 Plant (H1) and Hofu No. 2 Plant (H2) in Japan. Introducing this system to the U1 Plant completes the extension of the same paint system to all Mazda plants in Japan.

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