Mazda turns 100: how cars suddenly rolled out of a cork factory

The Japanese car manufacturer Mazda had probably also imagined the year 2020 a little differently. This year was supposed to be a really big celebration, after all, the company was celebrating its 100th anniversary. But as so many jubilarians this year know from experience: The party had to be cancelled. Thanks to Corona. However, before the Japanese entered the 101. As the Plus brand kicks off the 20th year of its history, we take a look back – and explain, among other things, what the refinement of cork has to do with today’s brand. (Read also: Big in Japan – Three Japanese cars on test that really appeal to every type of car)

100 years of Mazda: From cork refiner to carmaker

Jujiro Matsuda founded in 1920 the “Tōyō Cork Kōgyō K.K.” or Toyo Cork Kogyo Ltd. – founded a company that dealt with the refinement of cork. The seat: Fuchū, near Hiroshima. After eight years, the refined cork business expanded to include mechanical engineering; another two years later, the first motorcycles were produced and the Mazda name was used officially for the first time. From 1950 Mazda produced three- and four-wheeled trucks – and then, in the mid-sixties, the first passenger car rolled out of the production hall. The Mazda R360 was a small coupe and belonged to the kei-car class of vehicles, which was very popular thanks to government subsidies.

The Mazda R360 was the Japanese manufacturer's first production car

The Mazda R360 was the Japanese company’s first production car. It owes its name to the scales – the tiny car weighed exactly 360 kilos. With 16 HP the small one rattled preferably by Japanese city centers.

1967 appeared the Mazda 110 S Cosmo on the scene – a car that, thanks to a licensing agreement with the German manufacturer NSU, had a rotary piston or Wankel engine. The Cosmo was not only technically special. Mazda appeared from now on in the international arena. The Cosmo, a decidedly attractive coupe, was rated at 110 hp, powered by the world’s first twin-disc rotary engine. The 970-kilo two-door managed 200 km/h. 1.176 units were produced until 1972, 11 of them found their way to Europe.

Mazda made its first international appearance with the Cosmo Sport 110S

The Mazda 110 S Cosmo was also the name of the game: The first series-produced car with a Wankel engine was the forerunner of the RX model series, produced 110 hp – and was, quite cosmopolitan, the first Mazda to appear on the international stage. The coupe is highly regarded by collectors: five years ago, a Cosmo Sport was sold for 110 euros.000 US dollars at auction.

Mazda and the Wankel engine: the beginning of an era

The path Mazda took with the Wankel engine The decision to buy this truck proved to be the right one. While in Germany the rotary engine gave way to the reciprocating engine, Mazda continued to rely on the Wankel engine. The Cosmo was followed by famous and very popular sports cars. The RX series, starting with the Mazda RX-3, was built until 2012. The RX-8, with 231 HP engine and up to 240 km/h fast, was 192.094-times built. Mazda never stopped developing the Wankel engine as a high-volume product, Today, the Japanese are planning to use the rotary engine as a range extender or as a drive unit for hybrid vehicles. (Also interesting: Most expensive car in the world 2020 – This hypercar leads this year’s ranking)

The Cosmo was followed by famous and very popular sports cars – with a Wankel engine, of course. The Mazda R-130 ran up to 190 km/h and unofficially became “master of the road” called. The good piece was also quite expensive: almost 4.700 US dollars were paid for the two-door car.

The sports car among Mazdas was built from 1978 to 2002 and is one of the Japanese manufacturer’s best-known and most popular models. Naturally with a Wankel engine and plenty of power under the hood.

The most powerful Mazda RX-7, with the abbreviation FD at the end, cost 85 in Germany.000 DM and was on the road with 293 hp, which was already an announcement in the eighties.

Mazda underscored its reputation as a decidedly ambitious and development-hungry automaker in 2011, when it launched the Skyactive engines appeared on the scene. The subject of compression ignition became popular. Previously eyed by various manufacturers, judged uneconomical and shelved, Mazda researched intensively and found a way: the car known to us as the Diesotto The engine, which has become well known, is now used in almost all Mazda models. The diesotto is a mixture of diesel and gasoline engine, whose biggest plus point is that it’s a very powerful car the low consumption and the reduction of exhaust gases is. The technical principle is based on the most far-reaching elimination of spark plugs. The fuel-air mixture is compressed very high, as in the diesel engine, which makes it self-igniting. Spark plugs are only used at low power levels. According to Mazda, the advantages of the Skyactive engine are around 20 percent less fuel consumption and a smoothness that only a gasoline engine can offer.

The young guns: Mazda has been focusing on new design language since 2010

In addition to the technical development work, Mazda has been relying on the principle of the “Fast and Furious” in the design of its models since 2010 “Kodo”-Designs. In doing so, Mazda deliberately uses the animal world as a model. A leaping feline predator as a symbol plus lines and shapes that are very reduced and focused to symbolize the urge for movement and dynamism. The radiator grille, headlights and lateral lines of the body serve as core elements of the aesthetic appeal of all (recent) Mazda models.

Today, 100 years after the company was founded, the product range reaches from the tiny Kei-Car to the BT-50 – the pick-up, which is on the market since 2006. In the following we present our three current favorites in more detail. (Read also: Lamborghini SC20 – This open-top hypercar with 770 hp is only available once in the world)

Mazda MX-5: The best-selling convertible in the world

The Mazda MX-5 is the best-selling convertible in the world

The roof opens in four seconds, the curves are its best friends: We know and love it. The Mazda MX-5 is the best proof that driving pleasure does not need a high three-digit horsepower rating.

The bull’s eye, right in the middle. Two seats, a fabric roof that disappears behind heads in seconds, and an engine up front that doesn’t scream or roar. The steering is precise, the chassis neither too hard nor too soft, the transmission manual and therefore a pleasure to drive. Out of nowhere it appeared in 1989, the Mazda MX-5 – at a time when roadsters were rather witnesses of the past. The first generation, better known as Miata, was initially sold in Germany as a gray import. But the principle of the purist very quickly found a large number of fans. The two-seater with the charming face became a bestseller. Also because the price-performance ratio was unbeatable. The competition followed suit and also built purist convertibles, but the MX-5 remained the star on the registration reports. It purred and curved its way into the hearts of young people in particular and became a trendsetter. To the best selling convertible and a symbol for joy of life on wheels.

The current model with the modern and very efficient Skyactive engine has lost none of its magic, but in terms of performance it has made substantial gains. While the first MX-5 had 115 horsepower, the new model is powered by a whopping 184 horsepower. It’s a lot firmer going forward and the electronics help if you send the car into corners too briskly. (Also interesting: Winter blues ade – In the Lexus LC 500 Cabriolet you can head for the sun)

Mazda CX-30: The economical one

The Mazda CX-30 is an economical SUV

During the two weeks of our test drive we got to know and appreciate the Mazda CX-30 as a very reliable and agile car.

At first glance, the Mazda CX-30 a mid-sized SUV, chic, modern, practical and with the typical Mazda design. The aesthetics of this crossover are certainly among the best you can buy right now. The designers have almost completely dispensed with beading and shadow lines, the purist design works almost exclusively through the light units and the silhouette. The CX-30 stands for quiet elegance – and, in keeping with Mazda tradition, technical innovation.

Under the chic shell, of course, works an inline four-cylinder gasoline engine of the Skyactive series, which uses the principle of compression ignition. Together with the mild hybrid system Mazda M Hybrid the fuel consumption is significantly lower than in comparable models with conventional drive systems. Despite a very sporty driving style, our test car with 180 hp consumed an average of five liters of premium, which is roughly in line with the factory specifications. Respect. Steering, chassis and engine do not work – they cooperated, as a team. The hybrid can stroll very comfortably and quietly from traffic light to traffic light, recuperates very diligently abundant electrical energy and fills it into the battery – and the brakes? We hardly needed. Which annoys the workshop a little, our wallet for it pleases. (Read also: BMW iX3 – When braking becomes an adventure – and no pedal is needed)

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Who pilgrimages now to the dealer and wants to try the CX-30, should two variants test. The two-liter gasoline engine with all-wheel drive and 180 hp (from 30.697 euros) and the four-cylinder diesel with 116 hp (from 26.408 euros).

Mazda MX-30: The e-car pioneer

The MX-30 is Mazda's first electric car

The MX-30 is Mazda’s first electric car and was presented to the world public at the Tokyo Motor Show almost a year ago. A First Edition could be reserved against a deposit. The price: 33.980 Euro (excluding promotion).

The Mazda MX-30 doesn’t want to be a rocket, but the first e-car of the Japanese is efficient for that. Electric drive, no frills, acceleration ends at 140 km/h. Just under ten seconds pass before 100 km/h is reached. 1.700 kilos weighs the four-seater, the rear doors open a la Rolls-Royce in opposite directions.

In the city, where deceleration is often and regularly the order of the day, the electric car really comes up trumps – the degree of recuperation is selected via the steering wheel paddle. The interior of the MX-30 is covered with special fabrics. Former plastic bottles were processed as seat covers, even Cork can be found in the interior. A nice nod to the manufacturer’s roots. The operation is very simple, as well as the search for charging stations. Charging up to 100 kW, which is fast enough for the next 150 kilometers. Because the Range but maximum 200 kilometers amounts, long distances are hardly meaningful. Mazda itself also calls the MX-30 a second car. For this call the Japanese in the “First Edition” including the premiums currently available in Germany 23.645 Euro on. A range extender in the form of an internal combustion engine is to follow. (You might also be interested in: VW ID.4 – Volkswagen’s latest e-mobile in the GQ test)

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