Originally founded as Toyo Cork Kogyo Co. in 1920, Mazda has grown from a small Japanese tool manufacturer to a world-class automobile manufacturer. After changing their name to Toyo Kogyo Co. in 1927, the company diversified out of the from tools and military weapons markets with the Mazda-Go autorickshaw. While the company used the name “Mazda” on all their automobiles, it wasn’t until 1984 that the company formally adopted the name, putting Mazda Tyres on Mazda cars from the Mazda company.
While this first automobile resembled a three-wheeled motorcycle with a large bucket on the rear, they quickly invested in their own engine research to differentiate themselves from competitors. Mazda were inspired by the pioneering Wankel-type engine (a rotary engine designed by Felix Wankel) used in the NSU Ro 80 sedan and adopted rotary engines in many of their designs for their good power-to-weight ratios and novel appeal.
This adoption of the then-pioneering Wankel technology led to increased brand recognition and the subsequent rapid exporting of Mazda in American, Canadian and European markets. Thanks to their reputation for light, powerful vehicles enjoyed widespread popularity until the 1973 oil crisis, which saw Mazda cars lose out to more fuel-efficient models. By turning to other piston-engine models and cutting cars on manufacturing of Mazda tyres and parts, they still managed to turn a profit.
Starting with the lightweight RX-7 in 1978, Mazda refocussed their efforts, and encouraged consumers to consider the rotary engines similarly to high-performance Mazda tyres – optional extras for the sporting motorist. With generally low weight and high-power outputs, Mazda cars need good grip, so directional-patterned tyres will serve you well. However, Mazda’s partnership with the Ford Motor Company and others has led to a wide range of more economical motors in recent years, so there’s little need for sports tyres on the SUV Mazda CX-9 for example.