Mazda is among the most recognizable automotive brands in the world. Based in Japan’s historic Hiroshima prefecture, Mazda has given us such iconic vehicles as the MX-5, Mazda 6 executive saloon, and their newest offering the all-electric MX-30 SUV, which just went into production in May, 2020.
Beyond their eclectic modern range of saloons, SUVs and cute convertibles lies a richer world of JDM import-ready vehicles that bring more of this great company to the shores of the UK. Believe us when we say that there is a lot more to this company than meets the eye.
The history of Mazda can first be traced back to 1920 and the founding of the Toyo Cork Kogyo Co. Ltd. Its first line of business was in machine tools, but the company made the shift to manufacturing vehicles in 1931, a few years after rocky financial times and a bailout from the Hiroshima Saving Bank.
Their first creation was the Mazda-Go auto rickshaw, and things were looking brighter for this resurgent company. The shadow of war forced the company to produce weapons instead of cars, but the post-war years returned the company to what it apparently did best of all – cars.
The really interesting thing about Mazda is that the company didn’t even start using the name we now know as its official company name until 1984. It did, however, include the name Mazda on every vehicle they produced since their foundation. Two of their most iconic post-war cars were the Mazda R360 (1960) and the Mazda Carol (1962).
As with many Japanese automakers, the decades from 1960 to 1990 were the most formative. Mazda, over the years, formed significant partnerships with NSU, which made them a key player in the development of Wankel rotary engines. This was Mazda’s biggest USP for years, as they were the only Japanese automaker to use this engine type. Their rotary models, in particular, were welcomed for their power and light, nippy build. The company was further helped during the 1973 oil crisis, as even the American markets were desperate for more fuel-efficient cars like the Mazda.
Perhaps the most significant partnership was that forged with Ford, which lasted from 1974 to 2015. Originally born out of Mazda’s need for financial support, the partnership blossomed through the 1970s and produced a new range of smaller cars, pickup trucks and people carriers. Models like the Mazda Bongo became well known, often sold with Ford badges. The Bongo started back in 1966 as a small van, but over the years evolved into both a people carrier and light truck. By the mid-1990s we even got the Bongo Friendee which included a pop-up roof camper.
After an eventful century, Mazda has steadily evolved internationally as a producer and seller of executive-style cars. Every Mazda passenger vehicle seems to be built to project professional and financial success, the executive lifestyle, and a contemporary and stylish culture. It’s no wonder, then, that they are generally popular in the UK and other markets around the world.
The realm of Japanese domestic market importing has brought more of Mazda’s world to us today. The Mazda RX7, for example, has consistently ranked highly among importers as one of (if not the) greatest JDM cars from the “classic” period of the 1990s. This car’s superb chassis and impeccable rotary engine made it strong and reliable, which augmented its already attractive design.
So, what is it about Mazda’s that people seem to be unable to resist? Below we will explore that in more detail.
What do people love about Mazda?
When you look at the current range of Mazda passenger cars, it’s not hard to see that the initial thing that attracts buyers is their amazing aesthetic. Many JDM models share this quality, such as the original-look Mazda MX-5, for example, with its pop-up headlights and incredible sporty dynamic.
Other models, however, tell the story of Mazda much better, like the Mazda Bongo, which while not sharing the gorgeous aesthetic of the Mazda 6 or MX-30, contains the other secrets to Mazda’s success, which are listed below:
1. Engine quality
Japanese vehicles are, by and large, known for their well-engineered systems, in particular the engine. Mazda is no exception to this rule. From the very beginning, Mazda’s have proven themselves dependable and reliable machines. The company has also never shied away from working with international designs, such as the Wankel engine mentioned earlier. This open-minded approach to technology has allowed Mazda to consistently supply vehicles of a higher order when it comes to the quality of their engines.
2. Fuel efficiency
A natural progression of the first point on engines is to look at fuel efficiency. The Mazda Bongo provides a great example, with average consumption across its models being around 26mpg. When you consider that these engines include 2.5L V6 engines putting out a lot of power and performance, this efficiency level is pleasing. No wonder, then, in a country like the UK with its infamously high petrol prices, Mazda continues to be a popular go-to brand for international- and JDM-model buyers alike.
One of the most common reactions of people who drive a Mazda for the first time is how much fun they are to drive. This stems from the company’s general design principle to build on a lighter, more dynamic chassis, which when coupled with the engine power and reliability make for an extraordinary driving experience. Even their well-received marketing (Zoom-Zoom) reflects this culture of performance that carries across their entire line.
Finally, one of the key factors behind their JDM success in particular is their affordability. To look at any Mazda you’d think you’d need to break the bank to get your hands on it, but the reality is quite different. Racing enthusiasts have been enthralled with Mazda’s surprisingly affordable racing specs like the Miata and RX-7. Better yet, these cars and other Mazda vehicles continue to perform either to the equal or even better than many “high-end” cars.
Mazda JDM – Proving that age doesn’t mean a thing
Mazda is a magnificent example of how the JDM principle can change a driver’s outlook on the automotive world. While so many international car models are focused on gimmicks, appearance and comfort to sell their vehicles, the Japanese domestic market has long been driven by engineering and technology.
When you purchase a JDM Mazda from the 1990s or 2000s, you’re purchasing a car from an age bracket you may never have considered at all for another car, but with these cars it somehow works brilliantly. Thanks to the superb engines, well-built chassis and trademark attention to detail that the brand is known for, you get yourself the most incredible quality for a price you may never have thought possible.
Talk to us today and learn more about our JDM Mazda import range like the Mazda Bongo. We are just a call away!
Mazda Car Models
Take time to explore our own range of Mazda import cars and find a great-value family car that will help you live the strong and innovative message of this great Japanese brand.