Mazda Motor Corporation commonly referred to as Mazda is a Japanese automaker based in Fuchu, Aki District, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan. In 2007, Mazda produced almost 1.3 million vehicles for global sales, most of which were in the Japanese company’s plants, with the remainder coming from a variety of other plants worldwide. In 2011, Mazda was the fifteenth largest automaker by production worldwide.
Mazda’s corporate website claims that its name derives from Ahura Mazda, the god of light, intelligence, and wisdom of the first civilization in Western Asia, Persia. The company’s website also notes that the name derives also from the name of the company’s founder, Jujiro Matsuda.
Mazda began as the Toyo Cork Kogyo Co., Ltd., founded in Hiroshima, Japan in 1920. Toyo Cork Kogyo renamed itself Toyo Kogyo Co., Ltd. in 1927. In the late 1920s, the company from bankruptcy was saved by Hiroshima Savings Bank and other business leaders in Hiroshima.
Toyo Kogyo produced weapons for the Japanese military throughout the Second World War, especially the series 30 through 35 Type 99 rifles. The company was formally named Mazda and was adopted in 1984, although each car sold from the start wore off that name. The Mazda R360 was in 1960, followed by the Mazda Carol in 1962.
Mazda Partnership with Ford Motor
From 1979 to 2010, Mazda has a partnership with the Ford Motor Company, which is a 7% stake acquired in 1979, and in 1996 owned 33.3% of Mazda. Under the administration of Alan Mulally, Ford gradually deprived its stake in Mazda 2008-2010, with Ford currently 2.1% of Mazda stock in 2014 and cutting most of the production as well as developing ties. This partnership with Ford Motor Company started as a result of financial difficulties for Mazda during the 1960s.
Starting in 1979 with a 7-percent financial stake, Ford partnered with Mazda resulting in various joint projects. During the 1980s, Ford gained another 20 percent financial interest. These include large and small efforts in all areas of the car market, especially in the realm of pickups and small cars. For example, Mazda’s Familia platform was used for Ford models like the Laser and Escort, while Capella architecture found its way into the Ford Telstar sedan and sports models Probe. In 2002 received Ford an extra 5 percent financial interest.
In the racing world, Mazda had considerable success with both his signature Wankel engine cars and the piston engine models. Mazda vehicles and engines compete in a wide variety of disciplines and ranges around the world. More Mazdas are raced every week than any other car brand. Since 2014, Mazda remains the only Japanese automaker to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans overall.