Our History

The Making of Mazda

Mazda Spirit Icon

WHY DRIVING MATTERS

 Have you ever thought about the way your car makes you feel? Does it make you feel anything at all? Or is it just a piece of sheet metal? Simply a way to get you from A to B? We believe a car should stir the emotions. It should make your heart race before you even get behind the wheel. This is our mantra: Make cars that make driving matter. That’s why we build every Mazda to inspire, excite and most of all – bring people joy. This philosophy guides everything we do. From technology, to design, to safety. Our cars are built by insightful craftsmen and detail-obsessed engineers who love driving just as much as you do. Because Driving Matters.

THE STRENGTH OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT 

Mazda’s home city of Hiroshima is known for its incredible challenger spirit. Like a phoenix rising, the people of Hiroshima rebuilt their beloved city from the ground up. This strength is what pushes us to prevail against all odds. It’s what inspires us to be more nimble, strategic and most of all – creative. And it’s ultimately what led us to mass-produce the rotary engine and win the 24 Hours of Le Mans when nobody believed we could. This silent strength is what fuels us to keep challenging the status quo, each and every day.  

HISTORY IN THE MAKING 

History is made when great minds come together to achieve a task
everyone else deemed impossible.  

CREATION OF MAZDA’S ROTARY ENGINE – 1967

MAZDA COSMO SPORT

THE BIRTH OF OUR ROTARY ENGINE 

When Mazda set out to develop a flawless rotary engine in 1961, it was just a distant pipe dream for other automakers. Our tenacious engineers fought through a number of setbacks like chatter marks on the inner walls of the rotor housing. Ultimately, they conquered these so-called “nail marks of the devil” with high-strength carbon infused seals. The labor of love paid off when they successfully introduced the Cosmo Sport, the world’s first volume production sports car powered by a rotary engine.

There are some cars that just make you smile.

BIRTH OF THE MIATA – 1989

MAZDA MX-5 MIATA

THE DEBUT OF THE ICONIC ROADSTER

In true Mazda fashion, one passionate engineer dared to be different. At a time when the lightweight sports car segment was all but extinct, Kenichi Yamamoto led the development of the first generation Mazda MX-5 Miata. He and his team had one mission: Build a lightweight sports car that’s a pure joy to drive. They stopped at nothing to reach this goal, even incurring extra costs to achieve the agility they were after. In the end, every ounce of effort was worth it. They created a fan favorite, with more than a million Miatas on the road today. 

It’s amazing what can happen when you pair efficiency with performance.

SKYACTIV® TECHNOLOGY – 2010 - PRESENT

SKYACTIV® TECHNOLOGY

A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO DRIVING 

We believe vehicles should be engineered to maximize driving dynamics and efficiency: from body construction and engine technology, to the chassis and transmission. So we developed our innovative Mazda SKYACTIV® TECHNOLOGY to give you the most out of every mile without ever compromising performance. It’s just one of the ways Mazda makes driving better.

We take great strides toward the future, never forgetting where we came from.

FUTURE

CONCEPT VEHICLES

IMAGINING THE UNIMAGINED

This is the very question our designers ask themselves when they stare at a blank page. At inception, anything is possible. They have the power to craft true works of art like the Takeri, Shinari, or Mazda’s latest concept vehicle, the RX-VISION. Although these vehicles are strictly concept cars and not available for purchase, they’re a visual demonstration of how Mazda KODO: “Soul of Motion” design is evolving. 

Milestone 1

MOMENTS IN MAZDA HISTORY

From day one, we’ve been building cars that make you feel better when you step out then before you stepped in. We put our heart and soul into everything we create. These are just a few of our favorites.

1920

Milestone 2

THREE-WHEEL TRUCK

  • Mazda’s first production vehicle.
  • Referred to as the Mazda-Go.
  • Mitsubishi logo visible on the fuel tank as Mazdas were marketed through their network until 1936.
1931

Milestone 3

R360 COUPE

  • Mazda’s first two-door passenger car.
  • Powered by a 356cc air-cooled 16-horsepower engine.
  • Thanks to comprehensive weight savings, it achieves an unprecedented 75 MPG.
1960

Milestone 4

MAZDA COSMO SPORTS

  • Mazda's first rotary engine vehicle.
  • Generates 110 horsepower.
  • Achieves a maximum speed of about 115 mph and a quarter mile time of 16.3 seconds.
1967

Milestone 5

SAVANNA RX-7

  • Developed under the simple theme of "pursuit of driving pleasure.”
  • 130 horsepower with outstanding handling.
  • The only Japanese car at the time to feature popup headlights, which reduced air resistance.
1978

Milestone 6

MAZDA FOUNDATION

  • Mazda created the Mazda Foundation as a way of giving back to the community.
  • We donate money as well as our time.
  • Supports non-profits including Challenged Athletes Foundations, Second Harvest Food Bank, and After-School All-Stars. 
1984

Milestone 7

MAZDA MX-5 MIATA

  • Mazda’s introduction of the roadster.
  • Pure lightweight sports car.
  • Over one million made to date.   
1989

Milestone 8

MAZDA 787B NO.55 WINS THE LE MANS

  • First victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans for both a Japanese automaker and the rotary engine.
  • Mazda's first attempt at the endurance race came in 1974.
  • Mazda tried again in 1979 and every year onward from 1981 until 1991, winning on the 13th attempt. 
1991

Milestone 9

ZOOM-ZOOM

  • Mazda introduces “Zoom-Zoom” brand message.
  • Transcends language barriers.
  • Communicates the joy of motion first experienced as a child.
2002

Milestone 10

KODO: “SOUL OF MOTION” DESIGN

  • Mazda announces new KODO design theme.
  • Captures the feeling of motion, even at a standstill.
  • Revealed along with a concept car that embodied the theme - Mazda Shinari.
2010

Milestone 11

SKYACTIV® TECHNOLOGY

  • Mazda announces the collective name for core vehicle technologies.
  • Technology encompasses everything from engines, transmissions, body and chassis.
  • Performance + efficiency = SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY
2010

Milestone 12

MAZDA DRIVE FOR GOOD®

  • Mazda’s unique way of giving back to the community.
  • For every test drive taken during the Mazda Drive for Good Event, Mazda gives back an hour of time to local causes.
  • For every car bought during the event period, Mazda makes a donation to a select charity of the buyer’s choice. 
2013

Milestone 13

DRIVING MATTERS®

  • Launch of “Driving Matters” campaign. 
  • “A Driver’s Life” spot aired as television support for the campaign.
  • More than just a campaign, it’s the philosophy behind everything we do. 
2015

Milestone 14

MAZDA MX-5 MIATA WINS CAR OF THE YEAR

  • MX-5 named 2016 World Car of the Year and World Car Design of the Year.
  • Selection committee consisted of automotive journalists from all over the world.
  • Achieves near-perfect 50/50 balance when a driver is behind the wheel. 
2016

EXPLORE THE ENTIRE MAZDA LINEUP 

Now that you’ve seen where we come from, find out where we are now. Learn more about all the Mazdas we have to offer and find the one that’s right for you.