A Brief History of the Mazda Brand

March 2nd, 2017 by


Today, you recognize Mazda as a powerhouse automaker that manufactures some of the highest-quality vehicles on the market—but like any giant of the consumer world, Mazda started out with humble beginnings as a very small enterprise.

Cox Mazda presents you with a brief history of Mazda, taking a look at this company's remarkable past. When you’re finished, stop by our dealership in Bradenton to become better acquainted with the Mazda brand and explore our current lineup of elegant, exciting vehicles!

Humble Beginnings

It all began in 1920, when Jujiro Matsuda founded a business in Hiroshima, Japan, called Toyo Cork Kogyo, which specialized in making cork. The company began manufacturing Toyo machine tools in 1929.

It was just over a decade after its founding that Matsuda's business manufactured its very first automobile. The name of the business was eventually changed to Mazda, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Mazda Rolls Forth

In 1931, Matsuda's company unveiled the Mazda-Go, which was a motorcyle-like, three-wheeled automobile that had a cargo carrier at its rear. The company built 66 Mazda-Go models that year and began exporting three-wheeled trucks to China in 1932.

The advent of World War II and the bombing of Hiroshima halted Mazda's vehicle manufacturing endeavors in its tracks. It wasn't until 1949 that Mazda once again gained speed and resumed its export of the three-wheeled trucks.

In the 1950s, the company began manufacturing small, four-wheeled trucks, introducing the Romper four-wheel light truck in 1958. By 1960, the very first two-door Mazda passenger car was launched—a vehicle called the R360 Coupe. Mazda's first four-door passenger car, called Carol 600, was released in 1962. The Familia Van hit the market in 1963.

The full-scale exporting of Mazda vehicles to the European market commenced between 1966 and 1967. Another milestone was reached in 1967 with the introduction of Mazda's first rotary engine vehicle: the Mazda Cosmo Sport 110S.

In 1969, Ford, Nissan, and Mazda together established the Japan Automatic Transmission Company (JATCO). The following year saw the establishment of Mazda Motors of America and the start of R100 Coupe sales in the United States, marking the very first mass-produced, rotary-powered car sold in America.

From the Past to the Future

Mazda's presence in the automotive marketplace grew, leading to the firm establishment as the powerhouse brand it is today. Other key milestones along the way have included the unveiling of the MX-5 Miata two-door sports car at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show, signifying the birth of the best-selling, two-seat convertible in automotive history. Mazda celebrated the 20th birthday of the MX-5 Miata in 2009; by that time, sales for the MX-5 Miata had reached almost 900,000 units.

Today, Mazda continues its reign as a world-conquering manufacturer of gorgeous, high-quality vehicles, winning major automotive awards and storm the marketplace with its lineup of exceptional, head-turning models.

Experience Mazda Excellence at Cox Mazda

Visit Cox Mazda or contact us today to explore Mazda's current lineup and test drive your favorites. Our dealership is located at 3101 Cortez Rd. W. in Bradenton, FL which is just:

  • 25 minutes from Sarasota via US-301 North
  • 55 minutes from Tampa via I-75 South

We look forward to working with you!