Mazda


The History of Mazda

   

Mazda Motor Corporation is a Japanese car manufacturer based in Fuchu, Aki District, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan.
During 2007, Mazda produced almost 1.3 million vehicles for global sales. The majority of these (nearly 1 million) were produced in the company's Japanese plants, with the remainder coming from a variety of other plants worldwide.
The company website states that name "stems from Ahura Mazda, the highest Zoroastrian God of reason who granted wisdom and united man, nature and the other gods." It also notes that the name sounds like that of the founder of the company, Jujiro Matsuda.
Mazda's headquarters in Fuchu, Aki DistrictMazda began as the Toyo Cork Kogyo Co., Ltd, founded in Japan in 1920. Toyo Cork Kogyo renamed itself to Toyo Kogyo Co., Ltd. in 1927. Toyo Kogyo moved from manufacturing machine tools to vehicles, with the introduction of the Mazda-Go in 1931.  The company formally adopted the Mazda name in 1984, though every car sold from the beginning bore that name. The Mazda R360 was introduced in 1960, followed by the Mazda Carol in 1962.
Beginning in the 1960s, Mazda put a major engineering effort into development of the Wankel rotary engine as a way of differentiating themselves from other Japanese auto companies. Beginning with the limited-production Cosmo Sport of 1967 and continuing to the present day with the RX-8, Mazda has become the sole manufacturer of Wankel-type engines mainly by way of attrition (NSU and CitroŽn both gave up on the design during the 1970s, and prototype efforts by General Motors never made it to production).
This effort to bring attention to themselves apparently helped, as Mazda rapidly began to export its vehicles. Both piston-powered and rotary-powered models made their way around the world. The rotary models quickly became popular for their combination of good power and light weight when compared to piston-engined competitors that required a heavy V6 or V8 engine to produce the same power. The R100 and the famed RX series (RX-2, RX-3, and RX-4) led the company's export efforts.
Mazda's rotary success continued until the onset of the 1973 oil crisis.  The smaller Familia line in particular became very important to Mazda's worldwide sales after 1973, as did the somewhat larger Capella series.
Mazda RX-7 (first generation)Not wishing to abandon the rotary engine entirely, Mazda refocused their efforts and made it a choice for the sporting motorist rather than a mainstream powerplant. Starting with the lightweight RX-7 in 1978 and continuing with the modern RX-8, Mazda has continued its dedication to this unique powerplant. This switch in focus also resulted in the development of another lightweight sports car, the piston-powered Mazda Roadster (perhaps better known by its worldwide names as the MX-5 or Miata), inspired by the concept 'jinba ittai'. Introduced in 1989 to worldwide acclaim, the Roadster has been widely credited with reviving the concept of the small sports car after its decline in the late 1970s.
Mazda's financial turmoil and decline during the 1960s resulted in a new corporate investor, Ford Motor Company. Starting in 1979 with a 7-percent financial stake, Ford began a partnership with Mazda resulting in various joint projects. During the 1980s, Ford gained another 20 percent financial stake. These included large and small efforts in all areas of the automotive landscape. This was most notable in the realm of pickup trucks (like the Mazda B-Series, which spawned a Ford Courier variant in North America) and smaller cars. For instance, Mazda's Familia platform was used for Ford models like the Laser and Escort, while the Capella architecture found its way into Ford's Telstar sedan and Probe sports models. In 2002 Ford gained an extra 5-percent financial stake.
The Probe was built in a new Mazda assembly plant in Flat Rock, Michigan along with the mainstream 626 sedan (the North American version of the Capella) and a companion Mazda MX-6 sports coupe. (The plant is now a Ford-Mazda joint venture known as AutoAlliance International.) Ford has also loaned Mazda some of their capacity when needed: the Mazda 121 sold in Europe and South Africa was, for a time, a variant of the Ford Fiesta built in plants in Europe and South Africa. Mazda has also made an effort in the past to sell some of Ford's cars in Japan, mainly through their Autorama dealer group.
Mazda also helped Ford develop the 1991 Explorer, which Mazda sold as the 2-door only Mazda Navajo from 1991 through 1994. Ironically, Mazda's version was unsuccessful, while the Ford (available from the start as a 4-door or 2-door model) instantly became the best selling sport-utility vehicle in the United States and kept that title for over a decade. Mazda has used Ford's Ranger pickup as the basis for its North AmericanĖmarket B-Series trucks, starting in 1994 and continuing through to the present.
Following their long-held fascination with alternative engine technology, Mazda introduced the first Miller cycle engine for automotive use in the Millenia luxury sedan of 1995. Though the Millenia (and its Miller-type V6 engine) were discontinued in 2002, the company has recently introduced a much smaller Miller-cycle four-cylinder engine for use in their Demio starting in 2008. As with their leadership in Wankel technology, Mazda remains (so far) the only automaker to have used a Miller-cycle engine in the automotive realm.
Further financial difficulties at Mazda during the 1990s (partly caused by losses related to the 1997 Asian financial crisis) caused Ford to increase its stake to a 33.9-percent controlling interest on 31 March 1997.
Amidst the world financial crisis in the fall of 2008, reports emerged that Ford was contemplating a sale of its stake in Mazda as a way of streamlining its asset base. BusinessWeek explained the alliance between Ford and Mazda has been a very successful one, with Mazda saving perhaps $90 million a year in development costs and Ford "several times" that, and that a sale of its stake in Mazda would be a desperate measure. On November 18, 2008, Ford announced that it would be selling a 20% stake in Mazda, bringing its stake to 13.4%, and surrendering control of the company. The following day, Mazda announced that, as part of the deal, it was buying back 6.8% of its shares from Ford.
Mazda had previously used a number of different marques in the Japanese (and occasionally Australian) market, including Autozam, Eunos, and Efini, which have since been phased out. This diversification stressed the product development groups at Mazda past their limits. Instead of having a half-dozen variations on any given platform, they were asked to work on dozens of different models and consumers were confused as well by the explosion of similar new models. One of the oddest sub-marques was M2, used on three rare variants of the Eunos Roadster (the M2-1001, M2-1002 and M2-1028) and one of the Autozam AZ-1 (M2-1015). M2 even had its own avant-garde company headquarters, but was shut down after a very short period of operation.
Today, the former marques exist in Japan as sales channels (specialized dealerships) but no longer have specialized branded vehicles. The Carol is sold at the Autozam store (which specializes in small cars), but it is sold with the Mazda marque, not as the Autozam Carol as it once was.
Between 1975 and 1991, Mazda did not have an official symbol, only a stylized version of their name; the previous blue "m" symbol was still used in some dealerships up until the 1980s, but later on a plain blue square next to the Mazda name was often used on dealer signs and documentation In 1991, Mazda adopted a corporate symbol which was to represent a sun and a flame standing for heartfelt passion. Shortly after the release of the new symbol, the design was smoothed out to reduce its similarity to Renault's. This is sometimes referred to as the "eternal flame" logo. A redesigned symbol was introduced in 1997. It's a stylized "M" meant to show Mazda stretching its wings for the future, and is also sometimes known as the "owl" logo. The symbol is also representative of a tulip and is still in use today.
Others may see the resemblance in the ancient God "Ahura Mazda", which is pictured by a flying sun-disk. The name makes this evident, so does the wings in a disk.
In the racing world, Mazda has had substantial success with both their signature Wankel-engine cars (in two-rotor, three-rotor, and four-rotor forms) as well as their piston-engine models. Mazda vehicles and engines compete in a wide variety of disciplines and series around the world.It is also known that on any one day in the United States Mazda has the most cars on the race track, proving its popularity.

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