The History of Mazda Motor Corporation

Looking Back At A Century Of Mazda History

Updated September 1, 2018

Mazda was founded in 1920, at the time under the name Toyo Cork Kogyo Company which was bought out by Jujiro Matsuda and a small group of investors. The company started out manufacturing various tools the companies starting years. In 1931 the company would introduce its first vehicle which would be a trike or tri-cycle named Mazda-Go that would be exported to China.

The name Mazda derives itself from Ahura Mazda which was an ancient God in the Western Asian civilizations that stood for three main characteristics of wisdom, intelligence, and harmony. During the Second World War the Toyo Kogyo Company would produce rifles for the Japanese military until the atomic bomb is dropped on Hiroshima. Mazda would loan part of its headquarters building and all functions of the prefecture office to the Hiroshima prefecture.  After World War II the Toyo Kogyo Company would start again with its production of tri-cycle Mazda-Go and would start exporting it to India.

Mazda History 1

In 1958 Mazda would introduce its first four wheeled vehicle under the name Romper which would be a light-duty truck. In 1960 Mazda would introduce its first car known as the R360. The R360 would have a 69 inch wheelbase and sported a 60 hp engine with a top speed of 52 mi./h and a weight of 838 lbs. In the same year Mazda would start development and engineering on the Wankel Rotary engine. The company saw great promise in the engine design as well as wanted to differentiate itself from other auto manufacturers. In 1961 the company would introduce the B360 which would utilize the same parts of the R360 yet offer a choice of pickup bed or van style. In 1962 Mazda would start work on an assembly plant in South Korea as well as produce its first four-door passenger vehicle known as the Carol 600.

In 1963 Mazda would reach a total of 1 million vehicles sold since its companies start and the company would also introduce the Familia Van. By 1965 must in work on diesel motors with the company located in the UK known as Perkins Services N.V. as well as finish their Miyoshia vehicle testing facility as well as start on construction for the new plant located in Hiroshima that would be completed the following year. With the Hiroshima Mazda plant up and running the company expanded rapidly in 1967 and started exporting its entire lineup to the European market including its first Rotary engine production vehicle known as the Cosmos 110S. The company would also establish itself in Australia the same year and in Canada the following year.

Mazda History 2

In 1969 the Mazda Company is fully exporting its Rotary engine vehicles to all available markets and was working with Ford and Nissan to establish an automatic transmission company. In 1970 Mazda would formally enter the US marketplace under the name of Mazda North American Operations. North American market became successful for Mazda until the 1973 oil crisis would disrupt Mazda sales and cause the company to restructure itself as it lie on the brink of bankruptcy. Because of the Rotary engines lack of fuel efficiency the company resorted to building more conventional piston driven engines for its upcoming models. In 1979 Mazda would reach a total cumulative amount of 10 million vehicles produced. Although Mazda was continuing to produce and sell many vehicles still was in deep financial troubles. Ford would buy into the company forming a partnership for the future years to come.


In the 1980s the Mazda Motor Corporation would start off on a positive note as its Familia 323 would receive the Japanese car of the year for 1980-81. Mazda North American and Mazda Europe representative offices would be established and monsters flagship luxury sedan known as the 929 would be introduced. Mazda would continue to receive accolades and expand its operations as well as partner up with Kia motors for some joint operations. In 1984 the company would establish itself as Mazda Motor Corporation. The 1985 Mazda would introduce its B-series trucks to the United States market as well as the RX-7. The Mazda RX-7 would become a strong seller for the company as it was being and affordable sports car for all and with its Wankel Rotary engine, Mazda would continue to reengineer its Turbo system and would continually increase the horsepower. 1989 Mazda would introduce its iconic MX-5.

Mazda History 3

The 90s were bittersweet for the Mazda company as the firm started off strong especially for the Mazda Auto Sports Le Mans team that would win the 24 hour race running the Rotary engine Mazda 787B. The next-generation RX-7 would be introduced and receive positive reviews. The company would also start developing electric cars based on the MX-5 platform as well as start developing a compressed-natural-gas truck. In 1997 a financial crisis would hit Asian corporations hard including Mazda. As a result the Ford Motor Company would increase its stake to the point where they had a controlling interest. During the years of Ford control the company would become more efficient and streamlined and expand its operations and product line. In 2008 Ford would be hit hard by the world financial crisis in be forced to sell the majority of shares of Mazda. As a result the remaining Mazda Corporation would buy back 6.8% of what Ford had sold.

Mazda History 4

Today the Mazda company offers eight different models for the American market, from subcompact to full-size SUV. The company has started to develop more fuel-efficient standards for their vehicles by utilizing better engine technology such as higher compression ratios and direct injection which then connects the engine to a more efficient transmission. Mazda also works to lighten up the vehicles overall weight therefore boosting fuel efficiency. The entire process has been called SKYACTIV and is featured on several of the new Mazda vehicles. The company is continually working on new designs as well as new technology such as a regenerative energy capture system in order to make their vehicles both fun to drive and efficient.



Uriah Nazario
About Uriah Nazario

If you are easily offended and like to comment about how your feelings are hurt then you won't like my style of writing. I speak my mind (which is deranged) and yes it is often offensive. I am open for debate but not whining. I appreciate all my readers and hope my articles put a smile on your face.

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