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The History of Mazda

These days, Mazda has an unshakeable presence in the United States. Mazda vehicles display a distinct and attractive exterior design, built according to KODO, Soul In Motion, Mazda’s design philosophy. SkyActiv performance technology helps each Mazda deliver both crisp acceleration and exceptional efficiency.

It was almost 100 years ago that Mazda began. Then, they were called Toyo Cork Kogyo Co. and based in Hiroshima, Japan. They made machine parts.

In 1931, Mazda began producing autorickshaws (also referred to as a three-wheel truck) called the Mazda-go. Sixty-six of them were sold that year. The following year they were exporting them to China.

In 1945, Hiroshima was hit by the atomic bomb. Mazda recovered and in 1949, they were again exporting their three-wheel truck, this time to India. Mazda introduced the Romper, a four-wheel light truck, in 1958. Only two years later Mazda came out with the R360 Coupe, a two-door passenger car.

Beginning in the 1960s, Mazda began researching the Wankel rotary engine. By 1967, the Mazda Cosmo Sport was born. It was a sports car equipped with a two-rotor rotary engine good for 110 horsepower. Mazda went on to produce the Mazda Rotary Pickup, the only automaker to make a rotary engine-powered pickup truck.

During the 1980s, Mazda provided platforms for various Ford models. The Mazda Familia platform underpinned the Ford Escort and Ford Laser. The Capella architecture from Mazda provided the framework for the Ford Telstar and Ford Probe.

In 1989, Mazda released the MX-5, a compact, convertible roadster inspired by the British two-seater. The car was an instant hit and has remained extremely popular since then.

The adventurousness Mazda showed in their rotary engine innovations and the business acumen they showed in partnering with Ford in the 1980s are two qualities that have helped propel Mazda into the 21st century. The ten millionth Mazda was sold in the United States in 2013.