Mazda is one of the most popular vehicles in America. They are known for upscale features for mainstream prices. Mazda vehicles also have a reputation for being spunky and fun to drive. They also boast pretty contemporary exterior style. But where did Mazda Motor Corporation come from? Is it a Japanese car company?

It all started with a tricycle

The production of Mazda did, in factm originate in Japan. The first vehicle manufactured by the company was a tricycle. Not just any tricycle. A tricycle truck called the “Mazda-go,” according to Mazda. Back then this Japanese car company went by the nomer “Toyo Kogyo Co., Ltd. The first vehicle the company every produced was this interesting truck trike. The second president and “substantial founder” of Toyo Kogyo, Jujiro Matsuda, considered the name with a few other co-workers.

the Mazda go tricycle truck in an old black and white photo
Mazda-go Tricycle Truck | Mazda

Matsuda is actually how they say Mazda in Japan, according to the above video. As the man who ran the Japanese car company at the time, it seemed more than fitting to use the name for the first outgoing production vehicle. The Mazda-go tricycle paved the way for what was to come of Mazda.

Mazda celebrates the 30th Anniversary of the Miata with the 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata
The 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

What’s in a name?

How did it break down to Mazda as the official company name for this Japanese car company? According to Mazda, the word Mazda “comes from Ahura Mazda, the god of harmony, intelligence and wisdom from the earliest civilization in West Asia.” This became a symbol for the civilization and culture brought to the world by automotive innovation. Toyo Kogyo got a new name: Mazda Motor Corporation. It was a way to bridge the gap between using a name to show that the company works hard “to make a contribution to the world peace and to be a light in the automotive industry” and honor the name of the founder, Matsuda

The 2020 CX-30 on display at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show is one of the newest releases of the Japanese carmaker
The 2020 Mazda CX-30 | MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images

Is Mazda still owned by Ford?

According to a Forbes article about car company ownership, the Japanese car company Mazda was once owned by Ford. The Mazda brand grew fame during the 1970’s. The Wankel rotary engine and the popular RX-7 sports coupe gained traction and allowed Mazda to blossom in the US market. From 1974 to 2015, Ford owned Mazda. However, it’s now an independent entity. The largest market for the Mazda sales is in North America and the only brand it sells is Mazda.

Mazda logo in front of a modern office building
Mazda Office | Mazda

Is Mazda Japanese?

If you check out the Mazda Wikipedia page, you’ll see that Mazda is, in fact, a Japanese car company. It’s based in Japan and has been an independent carmaker since 2015. In 2015, the first year of independence from Ford Motor Company, Mazda’s global sales unit produced 1.5 million vehicles. Most of them came out of Japanese plants operated by Mazda Motor Corporation. Some still come from a few other places around the globe, but tha vast majority come straight from Japan.

“Matsuda Kabushiki-gaisha) (commonly referred to as simply Mazda) is a Japanese multinational automaker based in Fuchū, Aki District, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan.”

Wikipedia | Mazda
1989 Mazda MX-5 Miata is a classic Japanese car
1989 Mazda MX-5 Miata | Mazda

Are Mazdas good cars?

From the Mazda MX-5 Miata to the three-row CX-9 SUV, Mazda manufactures some popular cars. the company enjoys a healthy global presence and a huge piece of the North American market. They are great cars. In fact, this year Mazda has more IIHS Top Safety Pick+ vehicles than any other brand. You can read more about Mazda’s Top Safety Pick+ awards in the article below.

a gray Japanese 2020 Mazda CX-9 SUV driving on a gravel road in the countryside
2020 Mazda CX-9 | Mazda

The 2020 Honda Fit Might Be the Best Japanese Car You Can Buy