Every car brand has a heritage of its own. Some manufacturers have been around for more than a hundred years, and some started in a totally different sector. Even the logos of these brands open doors to fascinating stories. No matter what car you are driving, it’s always good to know the story behind a machine in which you spend two hours or more on a daily basis.
Who’d have thought that a company can go from cork recycling to producing cars? But then again, the car world never ceases to surprise. Just like Toyota went from loom machines to producing the most sold car in the world. Mazda was actually founded in 1920 as a company for cork recycling. Today, Mazda is part of the financial-industrial group “Sumitomo and specializes in the production of trucks, buses, vans and cars.
Known as one of the most reliable and convenient vehicles, Mazda cars are appreciated by families, new drivers and car aficionados alike. What could we possibly discover by digging a little bit deeper into this giant’s archives?
The first cars came out of Mazda’s factory in 1931; these models, which became very popular, were three-wheeled “trucks” that resembled motorcycles.
The first vehicle produced by Mazda, a three-wheeled truck known as the Mazda-Go Type-DA.
In just 25 years, Mazda produced 200,000 pieces of the three-wheeled truck to serve the Japanese army during WWII”.
The 60s witnessed the company’s expansion on both local and international levels: it produced its first car, an R360 model – a first Coupe equipped with a 2-cylinder engine; both cheap and convenient. Also, during that decade Mazda began exporting cars to the United States (1964) and Europe (1967). During that same year, Mazda signed an agreement with KIA Motors Corp for technical cooperation.
The R360 is a Kei car, a Japanese category of small vehicles, including passenger cars, micro vans and pickup “kei” trucks.
In 1984 the company was renamed to Mazda Motor Corporation. In addition being derived from the name of the company's founder, Jujiro Matsuda, the brand's name is borrowed from the Zoroastrian religion. According to classiccars.co.uk, Ahura Mazda is the Zoroastrian "God of reason who granted wisdom and united man, nature and the other gods."
Mazda's company website also states that its name is derived from Ahura Mazda, with Mazda meaning wisdom. Not your average car then!
The company’s current logo was introduced in 1998. Capturing the spirit of Mazda, the stylized "M" evokes an image of wings in flight. The "V" in the center of the "M" spreads out like an opening fan, representing the creativity, vitality, flexibility and passion that are Mazda’s.
As a whole, the symbol expresses the sharp and solid feeling that Mazda will be aiming to attain in all of its products.
The Mazda MX-5: The best-selling two-seat roadster of all time
In 1972 the company produced up to 5 million cars.
Mazda has assembly plants in 21 countries and exports its cars to 120 countries around the world.
Mazda’s Wankel rotary engine, which started being developed in the 1960s, was responsible for much of the company’s motorsport success.
Mazda’s plants in Japan have survived the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima in 1945. Being far from the impact center, it did not suffer much infrastructural damage. However 400 of the company’s employees passed away.
Mazda Holds a Special Le Mans Distinction, for the world’s oldest active sports car race. In fact, the company is the only Japanese automaker to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans outright. It did so with its rotary-powered 787B in 1991.
It Introduced the Best-Selling Two-Seat Roadster of All Time. Can you guess which model we’re talking about? The Mazda MX-5 Miata, of course! Since 1989, nearly one million of them have been produced.
Know any more interesting and fun facts about Mazda? Do share them with us!