Toyo Cork Kogyo Company, LTD founded in 1920, was the beginning name for the automobile we know as the Mazda. The Toyo Cork Kogyo changed its name in 1927 and moved to making motor vehicles. They had been manufacturing machine tools. They built the Mazda-Go in 1931. The Toyo Kogyo was known for building weapons for the Japanese fighting forces all during World War II. The series 30 through 35 Type 99 rifle is the most well-known weapon they supplied. Always using the name Mazda on their automobiles, they became known as Mazda to the world in 1984. In 1960 they introduced the Mazda R 360. Mazda engines followed in 1962.

With a big push toward engines in the 1960’s Mazda concentrated on the Wankel rotary engine, this was a way to distinguish themselves from American Car Makers. Mazda has become the only automobile maker to make the Wankel type engine. It began with the Cosmo-Sport which was a limited edition in 1967 and continues today. Citroen and NSU gave up on the design for the rotary engine in the 70’s and even General Motors tried one in prototype on it’s Corvette, but it was never produced.

Mazda began to export their rotary and piston powered cars all around the world. The piston powered engine fell out of favor when compared to the rotary. The piston needed a much heavier V6 or V8 engine to make as much power as the much lighter rotary powered engine. The Mazda RX series, RX2, RX3 and the R100 became the leaders.

In 1968 Canada started operation as Mazda Canada even though Canada had had Mazda’s since the late 50’s. Mazda entered the United States market formally in 1968. They were known as Mazda North American operations. They quickly became popular due to the Mazda Rotary Pick-up Truck made for North Americans only. They are known, even today as the only manufacturer of the Wankel powered pick-up truck. Also, they are the only make of a rotary powered bus. They offered it only to Japan and for the RX3 and RX4, a station wagon offered only in the US Markets.

During the oil crisis in 1973, the rotary engine fell out of favor for a more fuel efficient type. The company did not abandon its piston engines; they just offered 4 cylinder models all through the 1970’s. The smaller Capella and Familia became popular and important for sales in the 70’s.

The RX7 came out in 1978 and the RX8 has continued in popularity. The piston powered Mazda Roadster (you might know it better as the cute Miata) was introduced to us in 1989. It was a giant success. The tremendous response to the Miata is credited with a resurgence of the small sports car. Good for all car makers.

Mazda suffered a financial downturn in the 1960’s. In 1979, they acquired a new investor, Ford Motor Company. With 7% in 1979, by 1980 they would acquire another 20%. Ford and Mazda have collaborated on several things to include Ford using the Familia frame to build its Probe and Telstar sport models.

Author Bio: Lawrence Reaves writes for Virginia Insurance Group, a leading broker of Richmond insurance policies such as Richmond auto insurance and Richmond renters insurance. Virginia Insurance Group can be found online at: .

Category: Automotive
Keywords: mazda, history of mazda, autos, auto insurance, car insurance

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