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100 Years of Mazda Means New Special Editions for Sale

Mazda has been creating quality vehicles for 100 years. Many Mazda cars consistently get great reviews from critics, including the CX-5 and Mazda3. Even after so many years, the company still continues to add exciting new cars to its lineup. We’re particularly excited about the upcoming all-electric MX-30.

Mazda also has a few new special edition cars planned in honor of its 100th anniversary. These cars will pay tribute to the Mazda R360, one of the first cars that bolstered the company’s success. Let’s look at the history of Mazda and why it manages to stay popular even with increasing competition.

Mazda’s rise to popularity

Mazda logo during the Geneva International Motor Show
The Mazda logo | Xavier Bonilla/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Surprisingly, Mazda didn’t start out as a car company. It started out as a cork manufacturer named Toyo Kogyo. Eventually, it went on to make weapons for Japanese soldiers and manufacturing tools. The first vehicle the company made was the Mazda-Go in 1931. It’s widely considered to be the first auto-rickshaw ever built.

Almost 30 years later, the company would create its first cars. These were both kei cars, which are the smallest passenger vehicles in Japan. After some financial trouble in the ’70s, Mazda went on to form a partnership with Ford Motor Company.

Mazda used existing Ford vehicles as inspiration for cars like the Mazda Navajo and its line of B-series trucks. After the financial crisis of 2008, Ford began to gradually sell its stakes in Mazda. As of 2015, Ford holds no remaining Mazda shares. Mazda would go on to form a partnership with Toyota, receiving hydrogen fuel cell systems. In exchange, it assists Toyota with fuel-efficient engine technology.

The R360

This car was only in production for six years, but it quickly became one of the most popular kei cars. It was a two-door coupe that could seat up to four passengers. Its V-twin engine could produce up to 16 hp and 16 lb-ft of torque. It could have a four-speed manual or two-speed automatic transmission. Nowadays, the most powerful engine in Mazda cars is capable of 250 hp.

The new special edition cars

The special edition anniversary models will feature a unique white paint job and have red interiors. This is the same color combination that was available for pricier versions of the original R360. The special edition cars will also have a special 100th anniversary badge on the doors, headrests, and wheels. 

Eight Mazda vehicles will receive the special anniversary treatment. These include the Mazda2, Mazda3, Mazda6, MX-5 Miata, CX-3, CX-5, CX-8, and CX-30. The Miata and CX-30 versions will also have a burgundy-colored roof, with the Miata offering a soft-top option.

Where will these cars be released?

Japanese sales for the anniversary lineup will begin in June and last through March 2021. The Mazda3 and CX-30 will be released first, followed by the rest. Certain models have also been announced for the United Kingdom as well, like the Mazda3 and Miata. 

However, it’s unclear when these vehicles will reach the United States due to the coronavirus outbreak. We also don’t know how much these cars will cost. Road and Track staff estimates that the cars will be at least a few thousand dollars more than the regular versions.

Even though a stateside release date hasn’t been announced, the anniversary versions are already in high demand. This is proof of Mazda’s ability to stay relevant in the current market. Mazda is dedicated to its “Car as Art” design philosophy, creating vehicles that truly stand out among the rest. Judging by the awards it keeps winning, it seems that Mazda will enjoy many more years of success.