Choose your Mazda Model
“Zoom-Zoom” is Mazda’s most recent and perhaps most popular marketing slogan. The phrase (or is it a sound?) represents the “emotion of motion” that Mazda says drivers feel in its cars. Mazda has long distinguished itself from its competition by building sporty, fun to drive cars. Models like the RX-7, MX-5 Miata, and Mazda6, and the unique use of engine technologies like the Wankel Rotary Engine and Miller-cycle engine, have allowed Mazda to zoom-zoom into the hearts of consumers and into the winner’s circle on the track.
Mazda vehicles also have a place in our hearts and luckily for you, when it comes to Mazda auto parts, 1A Auto has you covered! It is our mission here at 1A Auto to supply you with the right parts you need to keep your Mazda working in tip top shape, at a great discount. Simply put, if you are in need of a replacement part for your Mazda car, truck or SUV, you've come to the right place. You'll find a large selection of new, high quality aftermarket Mazda auto parts, including headlights, taillights, weatherstripping, mirrors, door handles, exhaust manifolds, radiators, and more, as well as genuine OEM replacement parts - the very same ones you would receive if purchased from your local dealer, but without the inflated cost. However, we don't only just sell replacement Mazda parts online here at 1A Auto; we also carry a selection of new and performance parts such as high flow air filters and bike racks for your Mazda automobile as well.
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Look no further than 1A Auto for your aftermarket, original equipment (OE) replacement, new and performance Mazda auto parts and get your car, truck or SUV the new parts it needs today from Mazda enthusiasts just like you! If you happen to be an enthusiastic Mazda owner, have a deep passion for Mazda vehicles, or just want to learn more about the automobile manufacturer, continue reading below for a detailed look at the brand's history and some of its past and present models.
Mazda Motor Corporation is a Japanese automaker and one of the top worldwide in terms of production. While the origins of the company can be traced back to as early as 1920, the company did not start producing vehicles until 1931, and did not release its first real car until 1960. Though every automobile sold by the company from its onset bore the Mazda name, the company, however, did not officially rename the company to Mazda until 1984. While the company is based in Japan and the large majority of its vehicles are produced in the company’s local plants, Mazda vehicles can be found all over the globe.
Mazda originated as an industrial company called Toyo Cork Kogyo Co., Ltd which was founded in 1920 as an artificial cork manufacturer. In 1921, Jujiro Matsuda took over the then floundering company, which had been placed into receivership by its creditors due to the fact that the market for artificial cork had dried up following the end of the First World War. Matsuda quickly shifted the direction of the company from the unprofitable cork business to the manufacturing of machine tools. In 1927, the company was renamed to Toyo Kogyo Co., Ltd. and in 1931, the company shifted gears once again and began producing vehicles, the first of which was 1931’s Mazda-Go, an early autorickshaw. The Mazda-Go was essentially a motorcycle, powered by a single cylinder engine, with an open truck bed in back.
Post World War II and Beyond
With the onset of the Second World War, Toyo Kyogo focused on building weapons for the Japanese military. The Toyo Kyogo factory, which was located in Hiroshima, Japan, felt the effects when the Atomic bomb was dropped on that city on August 6, 1945. The factory was about three miles from the center of the explosion but did survive the blast. For about a year afterward, the company ceased all production activities and provided parts of its facilities to the local government, and courts, as well as a broadcasting company. Following World War II, a revitalized Toyo Kogyo was a big force behind repairing the damaged economy of Hiroshima.
In 1951, Tsuneji Matsuda succeeded Jujiro as president of Toyo Kogyo and was a big driver of the expansion of its automobile division. Jujiro, sadly, would die shortly afterwards in 1952. That expansion was on display in 1961 when the company introduced its first real car in 1960, the two-door Mazda R360. The R360 was a small coupe with a 69 inch wheelbase and a 356cc V-twin engine. Soon after, Mazda introduced a pickup truck, the B360, using the same small engine. The more powerful 577cc B600 truck was built for the export market. Its first four-door passenger car, the Mazda Carol 600, was introduced in 1964.
Rather than continuing to rely on motorcycle engines to power its cars, Mazda started looking into an unusual pistonless rotary engine known as the Wankel engine in the early 1960’s. In the Wankel engine, combusting gas is used to spin a triangular rotor rather than push a piston linearly. The Wankel engine generates one combustion stroke for each camshaft rotation, compared to one combustion stroke per cylinder for every two crankshaft rotations in a four-stroke piston engine. This gives a Wankel engine a higher power output than a four-stroke piston engine of the same displacement. The rotary motion is also smoother than the reciprocating motion of a piston engine, giving Wankel engines a higher redline. They have fewer moving parts than a piston engine and so, are easier to mass produce. Mazda competed with German automaker NSU Motorenwerke, which would later evolve into what is known as Audi today, to introduce the first mass-produced Wankel powered car. Mazda produced an experimental version in 1961, but NSU introduced the first production model, the NSU Spider, in 1964. The NSU Wankel’s faced seal problems, which Mazda was able to overcome, in 1967’s Mazda Cosmo 110S.
Two Cosmo’s ran the 84 hour Marathon de la Route at Germany’s Nurburgring in 1968. One pulled out in the 82nd hour with axle damage, while the other completed the race fourth overall, demonstrating the viability of the Wankel engine. Mazda’s next racing outing was with the Familia Rotary Coupe the following year. Familia’s won the Singapore Grand Prix and took in fifth and sixth at the Spa 24 Hours (where the top four spots were taken by Porsche 911’s). Four Familia’s were entered in the Nurburgring race that year but only one finished, in fifth place. All of this is highly impressive, though, when one considers the Familia’s other life – indicated in its name – as a family car. The Familia was one of the first Mazda’s offered in the United States, under the export name of the Mazda R100, and achieved some consumer success despite only being available in the Pacific Northwest at first. The Familia line began in 1963 and ended in 2003. In 1980 it was sold in the US as the 323 and won Wheels magazine’s Car of the Year. Eventually the 323 became the Protégé in the U.S. market.
Although the Wankel engine had great success at the close of the 1960’s, the 1970’s were a much more difficult time for the design. In 1970, the United States passed the Clean Air act which regulated automotive emissions. One disadvantage of the Wankel engine is that, because of its large, moving combustion area, gasoline is not burned as thoroughly as in a piston engine. This leads to decreased mono-nitrous oxide emissions, but increased hydrocarbon emissions due to the release of unspent fuel. To combat this, Mazda developed a thermal reactor which allows the remaining gas to be burned in the exhaust. Since this gas is burned outside the chamber, without pushing the rotor, the Wankel engine remained fuel inefficient. This was an unfortunate problem to have when the 1973 oil crisis struck as consumers both in the U.S. and in other countries quickly turned to automobiles that had better fuel efficiency. This led to rotary-powered models falling out of favor and the already heavily indebted at the time Toyo Kogyo landing on the cliff of bankruptcy. The company was only saved due to the intervention of a Japanese bank. Luckily for the company, it had not totally turned its back on piston engines and it continued to manufacture various four-cylinder vehicles throughout the 1970’s, such as the smaller Familia line in particular which was a big contributor to Mazda's worldwide sales after 1973. Following this shift in consumer demands, Mazda refocused and rather than making the rotary engine a mainstream powerplant for the sporting motorist, it made it a choice instead in the years to come.
In addition to exporting its cars to the United States for the first time, Mazda continued to work on further improvements to the Wankel engine while also offering piston engines during the 1970’s. For example, in the 1970’s the Mazda Capella was available in the United States as the Wankel-powered RX-2 or the four-cylinder 616 and 618, which would later grow into the six-cylinder 626. When Mazda introduced the Wankel powered RX-7 in 1978, it had improved the fuel efficiency of the thermal reactor system by 40%. It was a sporty two-seater (with rear seats a dealer option), presaging the later Miata. Design cues were taken from the contemporary Porsche 944. Due to the smoothness of the Wankel engine, it was equipped with a buzzer to warn drivers when the engine reached its 7,000 rpm redline. The RX-7 went on to success both commercially and competitively. In 1979, a year after its debut, the RX-7 failed to qualify for the 24 hours of Le Mans by less than one second. The following year, however, it took 21st place overall in that same race. The year after that, the RX-7 won at the Spa 24 Hour race, beating BMW 530i’s and Ford Capri’s. The RX-7 also proved popular with everyday drivers and was Motor Trend’s Import Car of the Year in 1986 while also making Car and Driver’s Top Ten list five times. In 1993, Playboy declared the RX-7 better than the Dodge Viper and named it their Car of the Year. Though the RX-7 was discontinued in 2002, its successor, the RX-8, debuted in 2003, continuing its dedication to this unique powerplant.
The 1980's and 1990's
In 1979, as a result of the financial difficulties Mazda experienced starting in the 1960’s and continuing into the 1970’s, the company entered into a partnership with the Ford Motor Company that would last until 2010. Initially, it acquired a small percentage of financial stake in the company, and then it gradually increased that percentage over the course of its partnership. The two collaborated on a number of projects during the 1980’s and 1990’s, large and small, and also lent each other capacity as well. For example, the Mazda B-Series pickup truck spawned a Ford Courier variant in North America, and later, the Ford Ranger. Starting in 1994 and continuing through 2010, Mazda used Ford's Ranger pickup as the basis for its North American versions of its B-Series trucks, due to costs reasons. Following the end of 2009, Mazda discontinued importing its B-Series trucks to North America. In terms of cars, the Mazda Familia platform was used for Ford models like the Laser and Escort, while the Mazda Capella architecture was used in Ford's Telstar sedan and Probe sports models. Mazda also helped Ford develop the 1991 Explorer, which it sold in the U.S. as the 2-door truck-based SUV Mazda Navajo from 1991 through 1994. Unfortunately for Mazda, its version was unsuccessful while Ford’s models instantly became the best selling SUV in the U.S., keeping that title for over a decade.
The 1980’s also brought many company milestones as well. In 1981, Mazda (North America), Inc. was established and in 1984, the parent company was renamed from Toyo Kogyo to what it is known as today, the Mazda Motor Corporation. In 1985, it established Mazda Motor manufacturing (USA) Corporation (MMUC), beginning vehicle production there in 1987. Mazda’s next big vehicle success, the MX-5, was intrudced in 1989 and was inspired by the RX-7, albeit in a rather roundabout way. Bob Hall, a Motor Trend writer, was talking with Research and Development heads at Mazda, when he called the RX-7 an “A-plus sports car,” but noted that the “simple, bugs-in-the-teeth, wind-in-the-hair, classically British sports car, didn’t exist anymore.” He felt that the Mazda 323 could act as the platform for a speedy, fun to drive two-seater roadster. Eventually Hall started working in product planning at Mazda USA and Mazda finally decided to take on just such a project with the following principles: that the car be as light as possible while still safe, that the cockpit fit two adults comfortably with no wasted space, that the car have a 50:50 weight distribution front to back, that it have four wheel wishbone suspension, and that the powerplant frame provide a connection between the engine and the differential for a sharp throttle response. A new four-cylinder engine was designed specifically for the MX-5. The MX-5 was introduced in 1989 and took on the now infamous Miata name in the U.S. Following in the RX-7’s footsteps, the MX-5 became popular in both racing and daily driving and received worldwide acclaim. The Sports Car Club of America sanctions Spec Miata, a single-model racing class intended to be entry-level in both difficulty and affordability. In reference to the MX-5’s drivability, Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson said “I’m only giving it five stars because I can’t give it fourteen.” This little roadster has often been credited with reviving the concept of the small sports car, which had declined in the 1970’s.
In the late 1980’s, Mazda tried to diversify itself in its local Japan market by launching three new marque’s: Autozam, Eunos, and Efini. These marque’s were in addition to the Mazda and Ford brands already marketed there. Some of the vehicles were also exported to other markets as well. Each marque released multiple vehicles but the experiment was ended in the mid 1990’s, with Autozam being the only Mazda marque to survive the 1990’s, into the early 2000’s, with many of the vehicles sold with the "AZ" prefix. Today, Mazda continues to use the Autozam and Efini names for some of the company's specialized dealership chains (Eunos was integrated into Mazda Anfini or Mazda dealerships), but the vehicles sold no longer use those names, rather they all use the Mazda name. In addition, in early 1992, Mazda planned to release a luxury marque called Amati in order to compete directly with Acura, Infiniti, and the upcoming Lexus in North America, but it was eventually scrapped before any cars hit the market.
In the mid 1990’s, Mazda attempted to break new ground in engine technology once again. The Mazda Millenia, which was produced through 2002, became the first passenger car to use a Miller-cycle engine. Miller-cycle engines are common in ships, but only Mazda has used them in cars. In a Miller-cycle engine, the intake valve remains open for about one-fifth of the compression stroke. This results in a smaller volume of fuel-air mix to compress which, in turn, takes less energy. Because of this, a smaller displacement Miller engine can do the work of a larger displacement standard or Otto-cycle engine. Mazda found it could theoretically use a 2.3 liter Miller engine rather than a 3.3 liter Otto engine. The smaller displacement means less friction on the pistons, which also makes Miller engines more efficient. The problem is that Miller engines require pieces like intercoolers and superchargers and a great deal of engineering precision which raises the cost compared to an Otto-cycle engine. So, most automakers have preferred to continue with the Otto engine. Mazda did make a Miller engine available once more in the Mazda2 subcompact from 2007 on.
Further financial difficulties at Mazda during the 1990’s caused Ford to increase its stake to a 33% controlling interest in 1996. A new president, Henry Wallace, the first foreign born head of a Japanese automaker, was appointed, and he set about restructuring and enhancing Mazda’s operations. He helped to lay out a new direction for the brand which included the design of the present Mazda marque, a stylized, winged "M" which is meant to show the brand stretching its wings for the future, and he also laid out a new product plan to achieve synergies with Ford. In addition, Wallace “launched Mazda's digital innovation program to speed up the development of new products, started taking control of overseas distributors, rationalized dealerships and manufacturing facilities, and began driving much needed efficiencies and cost reductions in Mazda's operations.” Much of the work that Wallace had done during his time as president would make Mazda profitable once again and helped to lay the foundations for its future success. Another Ford executive, Mark Fields, took control in late 1999 and was greatly responsible for expanding Mazda’s product lineup and completing the turnaround of the company in the early 2000’s. He would step down in 2002.
2000's to Today
The 2000’s brought many more milestones and notable events for the company. In 2002, the company introduced its now world famous brand message “Zoom-Zoom.” It also brought about the end of the Ford and Mazda partnership. In the fall of 2008, during the world financial crisis, Ford announced that it would sell a large stake in Mazda and surrender control of the company in order to help streamline its asset base and give it greater flexibility to pursue growth in emerging markets. As part of the deal, Mazda bought back a percentage stake in its own company. Ford gradually continued to divest its stake in the company over the next couple of years and it currently holds no stake in the company, and also has no production and development ties with Mazda anymore as well.
In terms of vehicle production, it would take another Wankel-powered car to make Mazda’s mark in the early 2000’s. The RX-8 followed on the heels of the RX-7. Introduced in 2003 (and discontinued after 2011), the RX-8 was a four-seater with rear-hinged doors in the back, designed by the son of the original RX-7 designer. The RX-8 followed in its predecessor’s footsteps, winning in the 24 Hours of Daytona GT class in 2008 and 2010 and being named one of Car and Driver’s Ten Best in 2004, 2005, and 2006. The emissions problems inherent in Wankel engines came to the forefront again, though, when increasingly strict emissions regulations in Europe led Mazda to stop selling the RX-8 in that market in 2010. As ever, Mazda is studying new systems to improve their beloved rotary engine.
Interestingly, there is one highly clean use for Wankel engines which Mazda experimented with on the RX-8 platform, and that is running the engine on hydrogen. The only waste product of a hydrogen engine is water vapor, so there has long been interest in hydrogen engine development. Unfortunately, hydrogen is so flammable that, in a piston engine, heat from a previous combustion can light hydrogen in the intake, causing flashback. The separation of the combustion and intake areas in a rotary engine neatly avoids this problem. Mazda developed hydrogen powered RX-8s to participate in Norway’s HyNor project to build hydrogen fueling stations across Norway and popularize hydrogen cars there.
Mazda has also worked to make its gas piston engines cleaner with something the company called SKYACTIV technology. SKYACTIV is a suite of technologies including lighter, more rigid chassis and bodies, more efficient transmissions with shorter shift distances, and of course improved engines. These include the SKYACTIV-G direct injection, high-compression gasoline engine and the SKYACTIV-D turbocharged diesel engine, with a two-stage turbo. These technologies have been available in the Mazda3 compact, Mazda6 family sedan, and the Mazda5 minivan since 2011.
With these improvements, Mazda continues its commitment to its project of making the most of engine technology – and overall driving technology. They’ve come a long way from the single cylinder engine of the Mazda-Go to hydrogen Wankel’s and the highest compression ratio in a gas engine with the SKYACTIV-D. The whole journey of course was driven by the emotion of motion. Today, the Mazda lineup consists of many great models, including the Mazda6, a large family car that was first introduced in 2002; the Mazda3 compact car which was first released in 2003 and was followed up with a performance-enhanced version called the Mazdaspeed3; the Mazda CX-5 compact family crossover SUV released in 2012; and the Mazda CX-9, a full-size crossover SUV first released in 2007, to name a few.