Mazda denies Ford sell-off report

Japanese car firm Mazda has denied that Ford is about to sell its stake in the firm.

Media reports in Japan have claimed Ford was thinking of selling its one-third stake in the Hiroshima-based auto-giant.

Ford would maintain some of its stake in Mazda as well as management ties, public broadcaster NHK said, but it did not reveal the source of its claims.

Mazda issued a statement, saying: "Nothing has been decided. Any important decision will be disclosed."

Michigan-based Ford said in a statement: "We do not want to comment on speculation. Our relationship with Mazda has not changed."

Any move would be a symbolic retreat for US car firms in Japan. General Motors has sold off its stakes in Japanese automakers in recent years.

But offloading links to Mazda, which makes the RX-8 sports car and Miata roadster, would furnish Ford with much needed capital as it tries to turn around its fortunes.

Ford has used nearly $11 billion of its cash stockpile in the past year amid a drastic downturn in US car sales. It reported its worst-ever quarterly loss of $8.7 billion in the second quarter.

Speculation that it may file for bankruptcy, denied by Ford, has seen its stock price plunge to a 25-year low.

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