Mazda Cars Are Distinctive Cars With Distinctive Engines

    Mazda cars are manufactured by Mazda Motor Corporation, a Japanese automotive manufacturer based in Hiroshima, Japan.

    As of 2006, the company is expected to produce 1.25 million vehicles per year, with sales evenly divided among Japan, Europe, Australia, and North America, followed by Latin America.

    Mazda is the only remaining manufacturer of Wankel rotary engine automobiles, and is the only manufacturer to produce 3-rotor Wankel engines for production.

    Mazda is the only manufacturer to ever produce a Miller cycle engine, as used in Mazda cars like Mazda Millenia.

    Mazda is the only Asian/American automaker to have won the 24 Hours of Le Mans race, which the company accomplished in 1991 with their rotary-powered 787B. It is the only car not powered by a piston engine to win at Le Mans.

    Lineup of Mazda Automobiles

    Subcompact Revue/121 Demio/121 Demio/2 Demio/2 Verisa
    Compact Familia/323/Protegé Axela/3
    Mid-size Capella/626 Atenza/6 Cronos/626 MS-8/Eunos 800/Xedos 6/Xedos 9/Millenia
    Full-size Sentia/929
    Sports car MX-6/Mystère MX-5/Miata MX-3 Precidia MicroSport MX-4/Kabura RX-7 RX-8 Cosmo AZ-1
    Pickup B-Series
    Minivan Premacy Premacy/5 MPV MPV/8 Crossover CX-7 CX-9
    SUV Navajo Tribute

    Mazda began as the Toyo Cork Kogyo Co., Ltd, founded in Japan in 1920. Toyo Cork Koygo 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. Toyo Kogyo produced weapons for the Japanese military during the Second World War. The company formally adopted the Mazda name in 1984, though every automobile sold from the beginning bore that name. The first four-wheel car, the Mazda R360 was introduced in 1960, followed by the Mazda Carol in 1962.

    The Ford Motor Company had owned 15% of Mazda, and its stake was increased to a 33.4% controlling interest on 31 March 1999 after Mazda fell into financial crisis. Ford has based many of its models on Mazda cars, such as the Probe, late model (North American) Escort and Mercury Tracer, and the co-developed Escape/Mazda Tribute.

    Mazda also helped Ford develop the 1991 Explorer, which Mazda sold as the 2-door only Mazda Navajo (1991-1994). Mazda's version was unsuccessful, while the Ford (available as a 4-door or 2-door) instantly became the best selling SUV and kept that title for over a decade. Mazda has used Ford's Ranger pickup as the basis for its North American-market B-Series trucks, starting in 1994 and continuing today. These trucks are manufactured in the US.

    In 1979 Ford started selling badge-engineered Mazdas in Asia and Australia, such as the Laser and Telstar. These Mada cars replaced the models from Ford Europe sold throughout the 1970s. Ford also used the Mazda models to establish its own retail presence in Japan. The badge-engineered models came to an end in the early 21st century, as Ford replaced the Laser with its own Focus, and Telstar with its own Mondeo.

    The reverse also happened, with Mazda selling badge-engineered Fords in Europe, such as the Mazda 121 based on the Ford Fiesta. Ford and Mazda have moved onto collaboration in a more fundamental sense, by way of platform sharing.

    In 1960 Toyo Kogyo entered the full United States market, outside of California and Hawaii, in 1970 with a single car, the RX-2. The next year there were five Mazda cars: The compact Familia-based 1200 and R100, the larger Capella-based 616 and RX-2 and the large 1800. For 1972, the line expanded again with the addition of the RX-3 and B1600; the 1200 and 616 were replaced by the similar 808 and 618, respectively.

    Mazda Cars Reintroduced a Tiny Piston Engine

    Mazda quickly rose in prominence, helped in large part to their use of Wankel engines. In 1974, two rotary engine cars, the Rotary Pickup and RX-4, were introduced. In fact, the 808 and B1600 were the only piston-engined Mazdas offered in the United States that year. 1975 had a similar lineup, minus the retired RX-2.

    Mazda had designed the REPU and RX-4 with the American market in mind, but the energy crisis was looming. The company's sales were slipping due to the Wankel's reputation as a gas hog, so Mazda responded with the reintroduction of a Familia-based car powered by a tiny piston engine, the 1.3 L Mizer. Those Mazda cars, and 1977 GLC (its next-generation brother) saved the company in the United States with terrific reviews and better sales.

    Also introduced in 1976 was the Wankel-powered RX-5 Cosmo. But every one of the older "rotary" models was cancelled after 1978.

    Even though the Wankel engine had lost its attraction, Mazda persevered with the technology and found a niche for it. The 1979 RX-7 rotary was the company's greatest image-builder yet, casting a halo over the rest of the model line. Also relaunched that year was the company's entrant in the midsize market, the 626.

    The Mazda cars RX-7 and 626 buoyed Mazda's American fortunes enough for it to expand. Mazda built an American plant to build the 626, bringing the company to Ford's attention. The two joined together on the 626's 2-door offshoots, the MX-6 and Ford Probe.

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    Mazda finished the 1980s the same way as the 1970s, with an image-building sports car. The Miata was another halo car for the company, kicking off an industry boom in the sports car segment. The 3rd-generation RX-7, introduced in 1992, was much liked, but few of these Mazda cars were sold, causing an end of the model's importation to Japan just three years later, followed by Europe and most of the U.S. by 1998, though Australia and some U.S. states{including CA}, kept production going until around 2002.

    Mazda has used a number of different marques in the Japan market, including Autozam, Eunos cars, and Efini, although they have 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 of Mazda cars. And consumers were confused as well by the explosion of similar new models.

    In the early 1990s Mazda almost created a luxury marque, Amati, to challenge Acura, Infiniti, and Lexus in North America. In Europe, the equivalent Xedos marque was launched, lasting just a few years. But the attempt was unsuccessful, leaving the company with the near-luxury Millenia to the Mazda brand.

    Members of the Ford Motor Company Daimler · Edsel · Ford · Jaguar · Land Rover · Lincoln · Mazda · Mercury · Merkur · Volvo

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