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The History of the Mazda Brand
The Toyo Cork Kogyo Co., Ltd, was founded back in 1920 in Japan—and so the seeds for what we now know as the Mazda brand were planted. The Mazda name was not actually assumed by the company until 1984, but the cars have been called Mazda pretty much right from the beginning. Some of the first Mazda vehicles were the Mazda R360 and the Mazda Carol, which were produced in 1960 and 1962, respectively.
However, Mazda didn’t arrive in the US until 1970, when they opened the Mazda Motor of America (N.W.), Inc. The first car released in America with the Mazda name was the R100 Coupe, which was also the first rotary-powered car released in the country. Vehicles like the RX-2, 808 sedan, coupe, and wagon, and even the RX-3 followed soon after.
Mazda has been building on that foundation ever since, winning awards and loyal customers along the way. In 1983, Car and Driver magazine included the Mazda RX-7 on their “10 Best” list for the year. The same year, the 626 earned the “Import Car of the Year” award from Motor Trend. Then there was the Mazda Miata in 1990. Now, 25 years later, the Miata still stands as one of the greatest sports sedans in car history and remains popular today.