Mazda Motor Corporation was originally founded on January 30, 1920, as Toyo Cork Kogyo Co., Ltd, in Hiroshima. It was then renamed to Toyo Kogyo Co., Ltd. in 1927. Back then, the company was known to be a manufacturer of cork, machine tools, as well as providing weapons for the Japanese military during World War II. In 1931, the company started to focus on manufacturing vehicles with the introduction of the Mazda-Go rickshaw. While every vehicle since then bore the Mazda name, it was only in 1984 when Toyo Kogyo adopted Mazda into the company’s official name.
In its pursuit of being different from other manufacturers, Mazda went on to develop the Wankel rotary engine. In 1967, Mazda partnered with German company NSU to create the first-generation Mazda Cosmo Sport, its first rotary-powered vehicle. The engine was revolutionary, mainly due to the amount of power it produces for its small size. For instance, the Mazda RX-8’s 1.3-liter Renesis rotary engine is small by any measure, but its horsepower ranged from 189 to 238 hp. Other carmakers have tried developing their own Wankel rotary engine, such as the time when Citröen also partnered with NSU in the 1970s. Chevrolet also developed numerous Corvette prototypes using the Wankel rotary engine. Both attempts have failed, which makes Mazda the only manufacturer to have successfully produced the iconic rotary engine.
Production of the Mazda RX-8 ended on June 22, 2012, at Mazda’s Ujina, Hiroshima plant. It is the last vehicle to be ever powered by the Wankel rotary engine. Emission regulations are ultimately what led to the engine’s demise, but that’s a story for another article. Not all hope towards the rotary is lost, though, as Mazda is still in pursuit of the rotary engine today as a range extender option for the MX-30 electric vehicle (EV).
Apart from the rotary, Mazda is still doing things a lot differently. Its Skyactiv Technology, for instance, is a set of unique solutions to a real-world problem. Its high compression ratio and direct-injected Skyactiv-G petrol engines provide excellent fuel economy, low emissions, and power delivery. Despite the supercar-like high compression ratios, these engines do not need high-octane premium fuel, thanks to Mazda’s ingenious solutions such as reinventing the pistons. Meanwhile, its Skyactiv-D diesel engines have a lower compression ratio than other diesel engines in order to eliminate the need for NOx and particulate treatments such as AdBlue (urea).
The next evolution in Mazda’s Skyactiv tech is the Skyactiv-X, which is a Spark Controlled Compression Ignition (SPCCI) petrol engine. In layman’s terms, the innovative engine combines the real-world benefits of a fuel-efficient diesel engine along with the power and refinement of a petrol engine. Apart from that, Mazda announced last year that it will be developing a rear-wheel-drive platform (RWD) and a range of inline-6 engines.
It is clear that Mazda has always done things differently for the past 100 years. As a way to celebrate, Mazda has released a commemorative logo that’s open for the public to download through a dedicated website. You can (mostly) use the logo whichever way you want. We say mostly because the use of the logo is subject to a number of terms and conditions. Modifying the design of the logo or using it for commercial purposes is strictly prohibited.
Lastly, why not share your story on social media with the hashtag #withMazda? Of course, it is preferable if you also add a hashtag of the Mazda you own (e.g. #Mazda6). Your photo and story might even be posted in the Mazda 100th Anniversary site.