May 4, 2015 By Mike Lee
Last updated on July 23, 2015

Mazda LogoBrief History About Mazda

Mazda Motor Corporation was founded in 1920 in Japan by Jujiro Matsuda and was originally called Toyo Cork Kogyo Co., Ltd. The company suffered financial difficulties in the late 20’s but got help from the Hiroshima Saving Bank and other businesses, saving the company. In 1929 the company started to make machine tools, with a new factory being built in Hiroshima in 1930.

A move was made to building motorised Rickshaws/trike trucks in 1931 and then also weapons for the 2nd world war.

In 1960, Mazda builds a small 2 door car called the R360, shortly followed by the development of the Wankel rotary engine in co-operation with NSU. During the 60’s and 70’s Mazda continued to expand, develop, build new factories, new cars/trucks and export to various countries. Mazda also got involved in motorsport setting up Mazda Sports Corner (Mazdaspeed) in 1967. They also introduced the Mazda Cosmo Sports car in 1967 and the RX7 in 1979 (both were also successful in motorsport). However there was a hiccup in 1973 with the oil crises that nearly made Mazda bankrupt, which also put the rotary engine in jeopardy and Mazda were forced to build smaller more economical piston engine cars.

In 1979 Mazda and Ford partnered with each other, with various amounts of shares in Mazda being held by Ford until 2010, when Ford sold back almost all of its shares in Mazda.

In 1989 Mazda introduces the ever popular MX5 and into the 90’s Mazda became even more busy, introducing more new models and updating existing models. They also gained ISO certification, although there were some financial difficulties due to economic problems in Japan and with Mazda’s attempt at building several off shoot divisions within Mazda, stretching the company resources.

In the new millennium Mazda continue to develop new cars and technology and even introduced its final rotary powered car, the RX8. They also signed contracts with Nissan, Toyota and Fiat/Alfa Romeo to build some of their cars.

Mazda Cosmo
Cosmo (L10A & L10B) 1967-1972

Mazda MX3
MX3 1991-1998

Mazda MX5
MX5 1989-1997

Mazda MX5
MX5 1997-2005

Mazda MX5
MX5 2006-2015

Mazda MX5
MX5 2015 on

Mazda MX6
MX6 1992-1998

RX7 1979-1985

Mazda RX7
RX7 1986-1992

Mazda RX7
RX7 1992-2002

Mazda RX8
RX8 2003-2012

Mazda 3 MPS
3 MPS 2006-2013

Mazda 6 MPS
6 MPS 2005-2007

Mazda6 2.5
Mazda6 2.5 Sport 2007-2012