History of Mazda | Bedford, OH


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Mazda has been a driving force in the automotive industry for decades.


Shinpachi Kaizuka founded the Toyo Cork Kogyo Corporation in 1920, in Hiroshima, Japan, to produce machine tools and cork. The development of three-wheel pickup trucks and compact vehicles became the company’s focus in 1931. Seattle, Washington, becomes home of the Mazda Motor of America in 1970.

Power Moves

The piston-engine-equipped 808 sedan, coupe, and wagon rolls out in 1972, along with the rotary-powered RX-3. A year later, the RX-2 gets retooled as a race car by experts from Car and Driver magazine. This reinvention marks the beginning of the automaker’s racing legacy as the Car and Driver RX-2 takes home first place in a U.S. professional race. Designed to be more fuel-efficient, the GLC, “Great Little Car,” hits the U.S. market in 1977. Motor Trend “Import Car of the Year” goes to the Mazda 626 while Car and Driver names the Mazda RX-7 as a “10Best” in 1983.

Name Change

The company is rebranded as the Mazda Motor Corporation in 1984, and the Mazda Foundation is established. In 1985, the company opens the first Japanese-owned U.S. based assembly plant in Flat Rock, Michigan.

Gaining Momentum

The Mazda RX-7 is named “Import Car of the Year” by Motor Trend and sets a land speed class record in 1986. The 1989 Mazda MPV minivan is introduced in 1988, and the 1990 MX-5 Miata debuts at the Chicago Auto Show in 1989. The famous Le Mans race is won by the Mazda 787B in 1991. 2002 marks the debut of the 2003 Mazda6; 2005 reveals the Mazda MX-Crossport concept; in 2006, the CX-9, the automaker’s first three-row crossover SUV, is delivered. It wins Motor Trend SUV of the Year and North American Truck of the Year awards in 2007.

Performance Advancements

Mazda reveals its innovative SKYACTIV® TECHNOLOGY in 2009, and in 2012, the 2013 Mazda CX-5 is revealed to the world. The 2014 Mazda3 equipped with SKYACTIV® TECHNOLOGY is available for purchase in summer of 2013. The crossover lineup is complete when the Mazda CX-3 hits U.S. dealerships in 2015. The SKYACTIV®-G 2.5T turbocharged engine debuts in the 2016 CX-9. G-Vectoring Control is introduced in 2016 as is the automaker’s design philosophy: KODO — Soul of Motion.

Learn more about the evolution of Mazda when you visit Mazda of Bedford for a test drive.



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