Mazda Cars

The name Mazda is derived from Ahura Mazda, a Persian-Zoroastrian God of wisdom, intelligence, and harmony, as well as the name of company founder, Jujiro Matsuda. Mazda is a company most notable for finding a rare niche in the automotive industry by creating vehicles that exist at the convergence of affordability and performance. Often, these two characteristics are mutually exclusive, yet somehow Mazda made a name for itself by making vehicles that offer driving thrills at a price most buyers can afford.

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Mazda Origins

The roots of this company, based in Fuchu, Aki District, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan, go all the way back to a three-wheeled truck called the Mazda-Go, made in 1931 by Toyo Kogyo Co., Ltd, a former toolmaker. While it appeared the new manufacturing direction would work, things were put on hold in World War II, during which time Toyo Kogyo made weapons for the effort. In the post war reconstruction, Mazda returned to auto manufacturing.

This production started to come to fruition in 1960 with the introduction of the R360 coupe, which led the way into passenger vehicle manufacturing. The 1960s also saw other major moves for the maker. As a way to separate itself from the other companies, Mazda pursued a joint venture with NSU to make the Wankel rotary engine. Other attempts by Chevrolet and Citroen were abandoned, and NSU bowed out, leaving the maker as the only company producing the rotary engine. At this time, it was the only company to make gas piston, diesel, and rotary engines. The Wankel was used for the limited edition Cosmo sport in 1967 and continued until recently in the now defunct RX-8. Another establishing move of the 1960s was the introduction of the company's first pickup, the B-Series 1500.

Mazda in America

The next major step was to expand sales territory. By opening up production in Canada in 1968, after selling vehicles there since 1959, the way was paved for North American success. Operations began in the United States during 1970 and proved quite successful. Standouts included the rotary engine models that offered performance equivalent to heavier V-6s and V-8s. The RX series gained popularity and a rotary engine-based pickup is still the only Wankel engine-based truck ever sold in America. It's the only marquee to ever offer a rotary-powered bus, the Mazda Parkway (offered only in Japan) and station wagon, for the U.S. market.

In 1979, any financial or world distribution difficulties were offset by Ford Motor Company, which purchased a 25 percent stake. The 1980s proved to be a banner decade for Mazda. The company name was officially changed to Mazda, even though each vehicle made previously already carried the name. While rotary engine sales were slow in the 1970s, the company never stopped making piston engines and therefore had a fallback. Rotary sales began to increase, leaving Mazda in good market standing.

Mazda Models

The union with Ford had many impacts of varying size. Having a corporate giant to finance new moves was very helpful. Design cooperation and the addition of Mazda plants in the U.S. boosted production, quality, accessibility, and sales. The 323 and the 626 models became very popular. Then came the Miata, a defining creation for the marquee. This drop-top two-seater may be the essence of the Mazda peak, a combination of affordability and performance. The marrying of the two seemingly disparate characteristics led the Miata to distinction and made it the best-selling roadster in the world.

If introducing the Miata in 1990 wasn't enough, Mazda added to its growing reputation that year by becoming the first Japanese automaker to win at Le Mans. The 787B that won the prestigious race was also a rotary engine model, making it the only rotary engine car to ever take the checkered flag. While such bragging rights improved Mazda's reputation, the 1990s saw a decline in sales of all models except the MX-5 Miata.

Mazda Products and Technologies

Like many automakers, Mazda survived the sales droughts sparked by economic downturns in the early 1970s and late 1990s. With a combination of R&D investment, which paid off with well-performing new models such as the Mazda3 and CX-9, and diehard RX fans supporting their favorite ride, Mazda has done rather well in the 21st century. Its "zoom-zoom" ad campaign and Mazda speed performance philosophy also found new followers.

Mazda proved time and again that performance and affordability can be combined into great cars and everyone from car buyers to genuine devotees can appreciate the results.

Select a Mazda Model

Mazda 626

2002-1995 | Midsize, Sedan

Introduced in 1979, the Mazda 626 marks the brand’s fourth attempt at an economical family sedan for the American market place.

Mazda 929

1995 | Luxury, Sedan

The Mazda 929 is a sleek-looking premium luxury sedan that the brand first introduced in 1987.

Mazda B-2300

2009-2002, 1996-1995 | Truck, Utility/Offroad

Several compact truck models sported bigger dimensions over the years, but the successful Mazda B-Series resisted this trend and remained a true-blue compact pickup throughout its production.

Mazda B-2500

2001-1998 | Truck, Utility/Offroad

Made for just four years from 1998 to 2001, the Mazda B2500 sport pickup truck aims to compete in the small pickup market against the likes of the Chevy S-10 and other economical trucks that can handle rough driving conditions and decent payloads while offering better towing capacity than a wagon or car.

Mazda B-3000

2007-1998, 1996-1995 | Truck, Utility/Offroad

First introduced in 1998, the Mazda B-3000 is a compact pickup truck and close relative of the Ford Ranger.

Mazda B-4000

2009-2001, 1999-1995 | Truck, Utility/Offroad

1995 witnessed the introduction of the Mazda B-4000 series pickup truck, the first vehicle from Mazda that featured a driver airbag as well as an anti-lock braking system.

Mazda CX-3

2019, 2017-2016 | SUV, Utility/Offroad

Mazda CX-5

2019, 2017-2013 | SUV, Utility/Offroad

Mazda CX-7

2012-2007 | SUV, Utility/Offroad

Launched in 2007, the Mazda CX-7 is the brand’s entry into the hotly contested midsize crossover sport utility vehicle (SUV) market.

Mazda CX-9

2019, 2017-2007 | SUV, Utility/Offroad

The Mazda CX-9 is a full-size crossover SUV that was first introduced in 2007.

Mazda MAZDA2

2014-2011 | Compact, Hatchback

The Mazda2 is subcompact car that has been manufactured by the Japanese automaker since 1996.

Mazda MAZDA3

2017-2004 | Compact, Hatchback, Sedan

The Mazda3 began with the 2004 model year.

Mazda MAZDA5

2015-2012, 2010-2006 | Minivan/Van

The Mazda MAZDA5 is a compact minivan that the brand introduced in 2006.

Mazda MAZDA6

2018-2003 | Hatchback, Midsize, Sedan, Wagon

The Mazda6 is a midsize four-door sedan that was launched by the Japanese car manufacturer in 2002.


2005-2004 | Convertible, Sports

The Mazda Miata MX-5 is credited for starting the sports car boom in the 1990s.

Mazda MAZDASPEED Protege

2003 | Compact, Sedan

The Mazda MAZDASPEED Protege is a sport model version of the standard Mazda Protege four-door sedan that was introduced in 2003.


2013-2007 | Compact, Hatchback

The Mazdaspeed3 is a compact sport hatchback manufactured by the Japanese Mazda Motor Corporation and modified under the Mazdaspeed operation run by the company.


2007-2006 | Midsize, Sedan

The Mazda MAZDASPEED6 aims to compete with other souped-up versions of family-oriented production cars, namely the Subaru Legacy GT, Subaru Impreza WRX STi, and Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.

Mazda Miata

2019, 2017-2006, 2000-1999, 1997-1995 | Convertible, Sports

The Mazda Miata is a compact roadster that became an instant hit when the company unveiled it in 1990.

Mazda Miata MX-5

2005-2001 | Convertible, Sports

Mazda Millenia

2002-1995 | Luxury, Sedan

Luxury sedans are usually more high profile, but for what the Mazda Millenia lacks in flash, it makes up for in power and performance.

Mazda MPV

2006-2002, 2000, 1998-1995 | Minivan/Van

The Mazda MPV is known for its compact body style and good maneuverability, with comfortable handling and excellent sliding doors.

Mazda MX-3

1995 | Coupe, Sports

The Mazda MX-3 did not debut in the North American market until 1992.

Mazda MX-6

1997-1995 | Coupe, Sports

The Mazda MX-6 debuted in 1988 as a close relative to another Mazda car, the Ford Probe.

Mazda Protege

2003-1995 | Compact, Sedan

The Mazda Protege is a small family car that Mazda manufactured from 1964 to 2003 as part of its Familia line.

Mazda Protege5

2003-2002 | Compact, Hatchback, Wagon

The Mazda Protege5 is a five-passenger station wagon that Mazda manufactured from 2001 to 2003.

Mazda RX-7

1995 | Coupe, Sports

The Mazda RX-7 debuted in 1979, using a rotary engine.

Mazda RX-8

2011-2004 | Coupe, Sports

The 2004 Mazda RX-8 invokes memories of the RX-7, but this is a completely different type of sports car.

Mazda Tribute

2011-2008, 2006-2001 | Hybrid, SUV, Utility/Offroad