There is reassuring news of sorts for Americans from recession-plagued Japan. The troubled Mazda Motor Corp., which is one-fourth owned by Ford Motor Co., is going to get greater Ford representation on its board and Ford executives full-time.
Ford bought its stake in Mazda in 1979, and imported Japanese techniques of quality control and cost control from the association. But the high yen and American industry recovery of market share have taken the superiority myth from many Japanese firms. Last year, Ford helped Mazda by buying up some of its investments in this country.
Now Mazda has missed a dividend for the first time since stock was issued in 1949. It is giving workers unwanted days off. What it is getting from its Detroit part-owner is some good old Detroit know-how. Seems there is still a premium for that in the automotive world.