History of Mazda

Mazda imageMazda began as the Toyo Cork Kogyo Co., Ltd, founded in Japan in 1920. Toyo Kogyo moved from manufacturing machine tools to vehicles, with the introduction of the Mazda-Go in 1931, although they produced weapons for the Japanese military throughout the Second World War. 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 year 1960 was the birth of Mazda as an automaker. In just this decade, the marque progressed from a 16 horsepower (12 kW) keicar to a Wankel engined sports car, the Mazda Cosmo. Mazda also entered the United States market at the end of the decade.

Internationally, the 1970s were the heyday of Mazda as a performance leader. The Wankel rotary engine outperformed their piston-based competitors by a large margin, and Mazda made the most of the powerplant by putting it in almost every product they sold, from the Rotary Pickup to the RX-7, and even the large Luce sedan. The only exception was the Mazda Chantez keicar, because other car makers vetoed the move.

However, the 1970s also saw Mazda's first financial crisis, which led to Ford taking a 25% stake in the company. The first RX-7 released in 1978 would be a strong image leader for Mazda, but actual sales revival would not come until the early 1980s.

1920

Familia 800 pick-up utilities and E2000 trucks introduced.

1931

Production of three-wheeled trucks commenced.

1959

Toyo Kogyo Co Ltd begins marketing three wheeler mini trucks in Australia.

1960

Mazda R360 Coupe, the first 2-door passenger car introduced.

1961

One R360 Mini Car sent to Western Australia to test and evaluate in Australian road conditions.

1962

Following display at Tokyo Motor Show decision to market R360 Coupe Mini Car in Sydney is made.

1964

Familia 800 Sedan and Estate and B1600 Proceed utilities were also introduced to the market.

1965

Familia 800 pick-up utilities and E2000 trucks introduced.

1968

Factory team visits Australia investigating the possibilities of CKD assembly. New Familia 1200 series and E2000 Diesel truck introduced.

1969

R100 2-door car released. Registration of Mazda vehicles exceeds more than 10,000 units for the first time in a full year.

1970

New 1300 Savanna 808 and E3000 Diesel truck introduced. New Capella 1600 announced in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. Capella Rotary RX-2 released.

1972

Savanna Rotary RX-3 released.

1973

New 929 Sedan and Station Wagon released as well as Rotary RX-4.

1976

New 121 Coupe and new Rotary series RX-5 introduced.

1977

New 323 series introduced.

1978

The 300,000th Mazda imported to Australia, a new RX-7 rotary.

1979

New 626 Series introduced and B1800, E1300 and E1600 LCVs announced.

1980

New Front Wheel Drive Mazda 323 series released as well as E2200 Pick-up and Van. Jack High lawn bowls tournament begins and is telecast on ABC TV.

1981

Wheels Magazines' 1980 Car of the Year awarded to Front wheel drive 323 Series. B2200 Pick-up released.

1983

New Mazda Front-Wheel-Drive 626 Series introduced.

1984

Wheels Magazines' 1983 Car of the Year awarded to new Front-wheel-drive Mazda 626 Series.

1985

Mazda celebrates 10 million cars in cumulative production.

1987

New 121 series Hatchback, B2600 series utilities and pick-up, 929 3 litre V6 Sedan and Hardtop, 626 and MX-6 Turbo Coupe and RX-7 Convertible released. Mazda Australia begins component export programme with shipment of Ballarat-made Timken bearings to Japan.

1989

MX-6 Turbo 4 Wheel Steer Coupe, new MX-5 sports convertible, T-Series, and 323 models released. "Car Australia" Magazine awards 1989 Car of the Year and Best Sports Car to MX-5 and Best Small Car to 323 Astina.

1990

Wheels Magazine awards 1989 Car of the Year to MX-5; 'Modern Motor' Magazine awards Best Car Awards 89/90 and Best Sports Car 89/90 to MX-5 and Best Small Car 89/90 to 323 series. New 121 released in November at Sydney Motor Show; Mazda Foundation launched to provide community assistance.

1991

New MX-6 with 2.5 litre V6 engine, 626 Hatchback and Sedan with choice of 2.0 litre 4 cylinder engines or 2.5 litre V6 released.

1992

New twin turbo RX7 released and wins 12 hour endurance race at Bathurst. V6 626 Sedan added to the range. Eunos division and stand alone dealer network launched and offers Eunos 500 and 30X models. 500 is 2.0 litre V6 Sedan and 30X 1.8 litre V6 sports coupe. Jack High recommences and is telecast on national Nine Network. 250,000th MX-5 built.

1993

RX-7 wins 12 hour endurance race at Bathurst beating arch-rival Porsche. MPV "people mover" with 3.0 litre V6 engine, and facelifted MX-5 with 1.8 litre engine released.

1994

Eunos 800 with unique Miller Cycle engine, new 323 range including Astina Hatch and Hardtop and Protegé released. RX-7 again beats Porsche in 12 Hour race at Bathurst.

1995

New 929 and facelifted MPV models released. 12 hour endurance race moved to Eastern Creek and RX-7 again wins, beating Porsche.

1996

New B Series "Bravo" range released and 2.5 litre diesel introduced into 4x4 models. New concept 121 "Metro" series released. Mazda sponsors "Mazda Challenge" race series for women competitors.

1997

New 626 Hatchback and Sedan launched.

1998

New model MX-5 released with 'fixed' headlamps and 'finessed' body shape; new 323 Astina and Protege released.

1999

New Bravo 1 tonne pick-up range released - vehicles built in new factory in Thailand and offer new turbo-diesel engine. Mazda signs major sponsorship agreement with "The Kangaroos" AFL football team.

2000

Revised MX-5 with SVT engine and 6-speed gearbox and Mazda Millenia with Miller Cycle engine released.

2001

Mazda's first 4WD wagon - the Tribute - and the Premacy 'space hatch' released. Record sales for Mazda Australia.

2002

Record sales for Mazda following launch of the completely new and award winning Mazda6 car range followed by the all new Mazda2 range further defining the Mazda stylish, insightful and spirited brand DNA.

2003

Continuing record sales have been boosted by the launch of the all new Mazda RX-8 flagship car, powered by the new RENESIS rotary engine that was awarded 2003 Engine of the Year.

2004

Mazda continued on a bumper year, achieving record sales. The Mazda3 was launched to Australian drivers in January 2004 and received critical acclaim.

2005

Yet another record year for Mazda Australia with the introduction of some very important Zoom-Zoom product including the all new MX-5 and the high performance, Mazda6 MPS. The first of our new generation Stylish, Insightful and Spirited product also received makeovers including Mazda2 and Mazda6.

2006

Sales records continued to tumble as four new models were introduced to Mazda Australia’s Zoom-Zoom product range. The company’s first crossover SUV the turbocharged CX-7, Australia's fastest hot-hatch the Mazda3 MPS, the MX-5 Roaster Coupe, BT-50 and Mazda6 Diesel all entering the Australian market in the later half of the year. Tribute and one of Australia’s favourite cars, Mazda3, both received significant makeovers.

2007

Mazda was Australia’s number one full-line importer for the third year in a row. The company’s new vehicle sales grew an incredible 22.1 per cent in 2007, achieving record market share and setting new benchmarks for every calendar month.Three new models were introduced to the company’s award-winning line-up; a diesel variant of the top-selling Mazda3, a completely re-styled all-new Mazda2 and the company’s first seven-seat sports crossover SUV, CX-9.

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