Mazda is a popular auto manufacturer based in Japan. The brand's name derives from West Asian god Ahura Mazda, who governs intelligence, harmony, and intelligence and from Jujiro Matsuda, the company's founder. In 1920 Matsuda formed a tool-manufacturing company named the Toyo Cork Koyo Company, which was shortened to Toyo Kogyo a few years later when the company switched from manufacturing tools to manufacturing vehicles instead. The factory's first production vehicle of its own making was the 1931 Mazda Go.
During the War, Mazda was commissioned as a weapons manufacturer, and the only vehicle produced from 1931-1960 was the Mazdago three-wheel truck. After the war was over and the damaged Japanese economy and Mazda factories were back up and running to properly produce automobiles by 1960, the Mazda R360 made its premier. The R360 was succeeded by the Mazda Carol two years later. During this decade, Mazda put major engineering projects in place to develop a Wankel rotary engine to outshine other Japanese automobile companies like Toyota and Honda. Although the "Mazda" name wasn't formally adopted until 1984, all of its models to that point already used the Mazda name.
The rotary engine Mazda was working on in the 1960s became very successful, with the limited0producted 1967 Cosmo Sport being the first sport the engine. This engine is actually still in use currently in the Mazda RX-8, and Mazda remains the only manufacture of Wankel engines in the world, though other auto manufactures like Citroen General Motors tried (and failed) to harness the technology at one time. With the successful lightweight engine in place, Mazda gained many fans, and the company started exporting vehicles. The Mazda R100 and the popular Mazda RX series (which includes the RX-2, RX-3, and RX-4 models) were at the forefront of Mazda's exports to other countries. In 1968 Mazda began officially operating in Canada (though the company had been working there for nearly a decade) and began operations in America two years later, in 1970. The Americans like Mazda, especially the Mazda Rotary Pickup (the only of its kind). This triumph continued until the oil crisis of 1973 hit.
Mazda fell back onto its piston engines due to the crisis (they weren't as oil-thirsty) and produced the small Familia line worldwide, as well as the mid-size Capella series to challenge its competitors and keep buyers interested. Mazda didn't abandon the engine entirely, aiming its target market towards the sporty consumer. This led to the popular Mazda Roadster (a.k.a MX-5 or Miata) in 1989, one of the world's most popular small sports cars.
Mazda has encountered financial difficulties through the years, with Ford buying stake in the company several times to come to its rescue. In fact, Mazda has contributed to many popular Ford models, such as the Ford Explorer and Ford Ranger. Today, Mazda is successful with models such as the 2012 Mazda MAZDA3 hatchback, the 2012 Mazda MAZDA5 minivan, the 2012 Mazda MAZDA6 sedan, and the small and sporty 2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata.