Mazda, a Japanese car manufacturer, originally manufactured machine tools until 1931 when it started producing cars; the first being the Mazda-Go. During the 1960s, Mazda focused its engineering effort into development of the Wankel rotary engine. This unusual engine design was how Mazda differentiated itself from other Japanese auto companies. This focus was successful as it has become the sole manufacturer of Wankel-type engines and it also increased recognition for Mazda in the car industry. As a result, Mazda started exporting its cars worldwide. In the late 1970s Mazda had some financial difficulties. Consequently, Mazda developed a relationship with Ford which resulted in some jointly-produced vehicles. Most of the production of Mazda vehicles still occurs in Japan.
Mazda didn’t formally enter the American market until 1970, even though it has been in the car market in Canada since the 1960s. The company was fairly successful right from the beginning and started producing cars, some of them tailored to the American market. One example is the Mazda Rotary Pickup that was created solely for North American buyers. To this day, Mazda is still the only car manufacturer to have produced a Wankel-powered pickup truck.
Mazda’s reputation has also been enhanced by the switch of focus to the sporting motorist. Two sport cars, the RX-7 and RX-8, were designed as a result of this switch. Following the production of these vehicles, the Mazda Roadster (more commonly known as the MX-5 or Miata) was introduced in the 1980s and quickly became a very popular model for Mazda.
Mazda has certainly been increasing its market share in the US over the past few decades. In fact, in 2007 alone, 1.3 million vehicles were produced by Mazda globally. Of these vehicles, over one million were produced in Japan and the rest in facilities across the world.
The Flagship Vehicle
Mazda RX-8 – the RX-8 is a sports car that has been in production since 2004 in America. Its predecessor was the RX-7 and both are powered by the Wankel engine. The car is currently in its second generation but it is expected to cease production for 2012. A new version of the car is planned, debuting in 2013 for the 2014 model year with more of an upscale look. Changes to the name are being considered.
Even though Mazda has not been operating in the United States for as long as other car manufacturers, it does have a solid reputation. Its marketing slogan “Zoom-zoom” has helped create that recognition in many American households. Mazda produced two very popular sport cars, namely the RX-7 and RX-8. These models were designed for the sporting motorist. Mazda is looking forward into the future and has plans to introduce innovations as it has in the past with Wankel rotary engines and sports cars.