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Mazda - marque/manufacturer information

List of all Mazda cars

Mazda Motor Corporation (マツダ株式会社 Matsuda Kabushiki-gaisha) (TYO: 7261) is 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.

Name

The name of the company is supposedly derived from Ahura Mazda, the transcendental god of Zoroastrianism. It is also said that Mazda coincides with the anglicized pronunciation of the founder's name, Jujiro Matsuda, who was interested in spirituality, and chose to rename it in honor of both his family and the Zoroastrians. Mazda means "great wisdom" in the Iranian Avestan language. However, in Japanese, the company has always been pronounced and spelled as "Matsuda" leading many to believe that Mazda is really just a poorly anglicized version of the founder's name. (It comes to English by way of German, Mazda being pronounced Mats'da in German.)

History

Mazda began as the Toyo Cork Kogyo Co., Ltd, founded in Japan in 1920. Toyo Cork Koygo renamed itself to Toyo Koygo 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 throughout the Second World War, most notably the series 30 through 35 Type 99 rifle. 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 executive Mark Fields is credited with Mazda's turnaround. Ford has based many of its models on Mazdas, 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). Ironically, 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. They now use a Mazda-sourced 2.3L I4 instead of the old Ford Lima 2.3L I4. Both 3.0L and 4.0L Ford V6s are available, as is 4-wheel drive and a 4-door (albeit with the clamshell style rear doors, not a true 4-door crew cab as offered by GM, Nissan, and even Ford with the Sport Trac).

The 1979 deal paved way for Ford selling badge-engineered Mazdas in Asia and Australia, such as the Laser and Telstar. These models 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 Autorama dealers sold these cars, plus the occasional Ford US and Ford Europe models. 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.

Mazda USA

Founded CA, 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 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; and the boring 1800 was gone. The piston-powered 618 was gone the next year, as was the R100, but the 1.2 L 1200 was back for a single year.

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. That car, 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 the writing was on the wall for Mazda's mainstream Wankel lineup - every one of the older "rotary" models was cancelled after 1978.

Even though the Wankel engine had lost its allure, 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 RX-7 and 626 buoyed Mazda's American fortunes enough for it to expand. Mazda built an American plant (now AutoAlliance International) 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.

Mazda finished the 1980s the same way as the 1970s, with an image-building sports car. The Miata was another tremendous 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 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.

Marques

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. And consumers were confused as well by the explosion of similar new models.

Today, the former marques exist in Japan as sales channels (specialized dealerships) but no longer have specialized branded vehicles. In other words, 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.

In early 1992 Mazda almost created a luxury marque, Amati, to challenge Acura, Infiniti, and Lexus in North America, and was to begin selling in late 1993. In Europe, the equivalent Xedos marque was launched, lasting just a few years. The initial Amati products would have been the Amati 500 (which became the Mazda Millenia), and the Amati 1000 (a new rear wheel drive V12 successor to the Mazda 929). This never happened, leaving the near-luxury Millenia to the Mazda brand.

Logos

1962–1975 1975–1991 1991-1992 1992–1997 1997–present
Symbol None
Corporate mark Image:MazdaLogoOld29.png
Symbol and corporate mark as seen on most Mazda cars from the Mazda R360 until 1975 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. A redesigned symbol was introduced in 1997; it is a stylized "M" meant to show Mazda stretching its wings for the future. Also known as representing a tulip.

Auto racing

In the racing world, Mazda has had substantial success with two-rotor, three-rotor, and four-rotor cars, and private racers have also had considerable success with stock and modified Mazda Wankel-engined cars, see video clip.

Mazda's competition debut was on October 20, 1968 when two Mazda Cosmo Sport 110S coupes entered the 84 hour Marathon de la Route ultraendurance race at Nürburgring, one finishing in fourth place and the other breaking an axle after 81 hours. The next year, Mazda raced Mazda Familia R100 M10A coupes. After winning the Singapore Grand Prix in April 1969 and coming in fifth and sixth in the Spa 24 Hours (beaten only by Porsche 911s), on October 19, 1969, Mazda again entered the 84 hour Nürburgring race with four Familias; only one of which finished, winning fifth place.

In 1976, Ray Walle, owner of Z&W Mazda, drove a Cosmo (Mazda RX-5) from the dealership in Princeton, New Jersey, to Daytona, won the Touring Class Under 2.5 Liters at the 24 Hours of Daytona, and drove the car back to New Jersey. The Cosmo placed 18th overall in a field of 72. The only modifications were racing brake pads, exhaust, and safety equipment.

After substantial success by the Mazda RX-2 and Mazda RX-3, the Mazda RX-7 has won more IMSA races in its class than any other model of automobile, with its one hundredth victory on September 2, 1990. Following that, the RX-7 won its class in the IMSA 24 Hours of Daytona race ten years in a row, starting in 1982. The RX7 won the IMSA Grand Touring Under Two Liter (GTU) championship each year from 1980 through 1987, inclusive.

In 1991, a four-rotor Mazda 787B (2622 cc actual, rated by FIA formula at 4708 cc) won the 24 Hours of Le Mans auto race outright, the only non-piston engine ever to win at Le Mans, as well as the only team from outside Western Europe or the United States. This led to a ban on rotary engines in the Le Mans race starting in 1992, which was eventually rescinded. After the race, the winning engine was publicly dismantled for internal examination, which demonstrated that despite 24 hours of extremely hard use it had accumulated very little wear.

This followed a decade of class wins from other Mazda prototypes, including the 757 and 767. The Sigma MC74 powered by a Mazda 12A engine was the first engine and team from outside Western Europe or the United States to finish the entire 24 hours of the Le Mans race, in 1974. Mazda is also the most reliable finisher at Le Mans (with the exception of Honda, who have entered only three cars in only one year), with 67% of entries finishing. Mazda will return to prototype racing in 2005 with the introduction of the Courage C65 LMP2 car at the American Le Mans Series race at Road Atlanta. This prototype racer uses the Renesis Wankel from the RX-8.

Mazdas have also enjoyed substantial success in World Land Speed competition, SCCA competition, drag racing, pro rally competition (the Familia appeared in the WRC several times during the late '80s and early '90s), the One Lap of America race, and other venues. Wankel engines are barred from international Formula One racing, as well as from United States midget racing, after Gene Angelillo won the North East Midget Racing Association championship in 1985 with a car powered by a 13B engine, and again in 1986 in a car powered by a 12A engine.

Formula Mazda Racing features open wheel race cars with Mazda engines, adaptable to both oval tracks and road courses, on several levels of competition. Since 1991, the professionally organized Star Mazda Series has been the most popular format for sponsors, spectators, and upward bound drivers. The engines are all built by one engine builder, certified to produce the prescribed power, and sealed to discourage tampering. They are in a relatively mild state of racing tune, so that they are extremely reliable and can go years between motor rebuilds.

Sports

  • Sponsorship of [[Hiroshima Toyo Carp
  • Sponsorship of Sanfrecce Hiroshima
  • Sponsorship of the North Melbourne Football Club and the Fremantle Football Club in the Australian Football League
  • Hosting of Mazda Community Ekiden
  • Cooperation with Hiroshima International Peace Marathon and Hiroshima Prefectural Ekiden Race
  • Hosting of Mazda Invitational Youth Soccer Competition (in Hofu).
  • Sponsorship of Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca.
  • Sponsorship of the Australian Rugby Championship

Future

Plans to release a hydrogen-fueled hybrid car in 2008, the Premacy Hydrogen RE compact minivan, a prototype capable of traveling 200 kilometers (120 miles).

Trivia

  • 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 the Mazda Millenia and Mazda Demio.
  • Mazda is the only manufacturer to produce a rotary pickup truck (B-series based), bus (1974 Mazda Parkway) and stationwagon (Mazda RX3 wagon).
  • Mazda is the only Asian 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.
  • Mazda had the distinction of having the first foreign CEO to head a Japanese/American car company: former Ford Motor Company CFO, Scottish-born Henry Wallace in 1996. Many Japanese media outlets at the time reacted in shock and horror, and wondered if Ford would cut jobs. He was followed by Ford President James Miller in 1997, and Mark Fields in 1999 until 2001, when he was tapped to lead Ford's Premier Automotive Group and handed the reins to Lewis Booth. Lewis Booth went back to Ford in 2003 and Mazda Director Hisakazu Imaki is now CEO.
  • The Zoom Zoom Zoom song performed by Serapis Bey (used in current commercials in Europe, Japan and South Africa) was recorded long before it became the official song for Mazda. It was recorded for the movie Only The Strong which was released in 1993. The Serapis Bay version is a cover version of a traditional Capoeira song, called "Capoeira Mata Um".
  • The television ads for Mazda automobiles in the United States use a pronunciation where the initial vowel sound is similar to the word "art", and that pronunciation is based on the last A sound in the last syllable in the original Iranian pronunciation. Canadian Mazda advertisements pronounce the company's name with the initial "a" sound of the word "has" The way the Canadian ads pronounce it is based on that of the first syllable's A sound that the Iranians pronounce.

List of all Mazda cars

Source: Wikipedia

Infobox

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