Mazda begins construction of a ¥26 billion ($257 million) transmission plant in Thailand that will build 400,000 Skyactiv transmissions a year when it opens in 2015.

The Thai plant, combined with output from the Hofu facility in Japan, will raise Mazda’s Skyactiv transmission production capacity to 1.54 million units annually.

Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony in Thailand's Chonburi province, Mazda Vice Chairman Seita Kanai says the Thai plant, which will employ 500 workers, will ensure the auto maker can meet future demand.

“This will not only help ensure Mazda's continued growth into the future, but also make a significant contribution to the development of the automotive industry in Thailand,” he says.

Mazda is aiming for global sales of 1.7 million units by the fiscal year ending in March 2016, with 80% of those models expected to feature Skyactiv technology.