Mazda Brand History & Current Models
Mazda Brand History information from Sid Dillon. Our Fremont, NE dealer provides historical and new model information for our current & future customers.
The Mazda Brand’s History – Tool Manufacturing Plant to Three-Wheeled Mazda-Go Truck
Mazda founder Jujiro Matsuda first launched the brand back in 1920 under the name Toyo Cork Kogyo Co. in Hiroshima, Japan. The company started out as a machine-tool manufacturing plant and did not start actually making vehicles for more than a decade. The first-ever car produced by the brand was a three-wheeled truck called the Mazda-Go which made its debut in Japan in 1931. The following year, they began exporting this vehicle to China but further production plans were put on hold due to the start of World War II and the Mazda factories switched to producing rifles.
1949 Mazda Resumes Production After WWII – Wankel Partnership Produces Cosmo Sport 110S First Rotary Engine Car
Due to production changes during the war and the bombing of Hiroshima, Mazda did not resume making vehicles until the late 1940s when they resumed production of the Mazda-Go in 1949. This remained the only vehicle produced by the company until they came out with the Mazda Romper, a four-wheel truck, in 1958. Two years later, in 1960, they released their first-ever passenger car, the R360 Coupe. The following year, Mazda partnered up with NSU/Wankel to produce rotary engines in order to set themselves apart from other manufacturing companies in Japan at the time. Even today, Mazda is still the sole manufacturers of Wankel rotary engines. This partnership then led to the production of the Cosmo Sport 110S, the first rotary engine car, in 1967.
1970 Mazda Opens in The USA – R100 Coupe & 1978 RX-7 Sports Car – Ford Motor Company Stakeholder
Following the success of the Cosmo Sport 110S Mazda decided to expand their market and in 1970, they opened the Mazda North American Operations in the United States. Here, they introduced the first-ever mass-produced rotary powered car in the U.S. with the R100 coupe. By 1978 they released the RX-7 which brought them success by offering a sports car with peak performance at an affordable price. In 1979, the company had started to make such a name for itself that Ford Motor Company invested and became a 25 percent stake holder. Eventually, Ford would end up becoming a controlling stake holder in the early 1990s due to an economic slump in Japan. However, by 2008 Mazda regained its control, when Ford Motor Company sold 20 percent of its stake in Mazda for $540 million dollars in order to help offset some of their losses in the global economic crisis.
1989 Mazda Introduces Iconic MX-5 Miata – Celebrates 1991 Le Mans Victory
One of the biggest landmarks for the Mazda brand came in 1989 when they introduced the MX-5 Miata to the world which quickly gained an impressive amount of interest due to its fun and sporty lightweight design and affordability. Then, in 1991 Mazda celebrated a victory at 24 hours of Le Mans with the Mazda 787 B making this the first rotary-powered vehicle to take home a win in this historic race.
2000 Miata Best-Selling Two-Seat Convertible in History – 180 Major Awards – 900,000 Units Sold
By the year 2000, the popularity of the MX-5 Miata had not slowed down at all and the Guinness Book of Word Records even named it the best-selling two-seat convertible in history! By 2009, when the brand celebrated the 20th anniversary of this popular model it had already received nearly 180 major awards and amounted sales of more than 900,000 units!
96 Years of Mazda – Big Changes and Rebuilds Lead to Incredible Success
In the more than 90 years since the Mazda corporation was first developed the brand has undergone a variety of big changes and rebuilds that have led to it becoming the incredible successful car manufacturing company that we all know today. We can only imagine what the next century of Mazda manufacturing will bring us!