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The Histories of Mazda, Toyota, and Honda

12 Jul
Mazda History
 
 
Mazda Motor Corporation マツダ株式会社, Matsuda Kabushiki-gaisha is a Japanese automotive manufacturer based in Hiroshima, Japan.  Mazda began as the Toyo Cork Kogyo Co., Ltd, founded in Japan in 1920. Toyo Kogyo moved from manufacturing machine tools to vehicles, with the introduction of the Mazda-Go in 1931, although they produced weapons for the Japanese military throughout the Second World War. The company formally adopted the Mazda name in 1984, though every automobile sold from the beginning bore that name. The first four-wheel car, the Mazda R360 was introduced in 1960, followed by the Mazda Carol in 1962.

The Ford Motor Company had owned 15% of Mazda, and its stake was increased to a 33.39% controlling interest on 31 March 1999 after Mazda fell into financial crisis. Ford executive Mark Fields is credited with Mazda’s turnaround. Ford has based many of its models on Mazdas, such as the Probe, late model (North American) Escort and Mercury Tracer, and the co-developed Escape/Mazda Tribute.

The 1979 deal paved way for Ford selling badge-engineered Mazdas in Asia and Australia, such as the Laser and Telstar. These models replaced the models from Ford Europe sold throughout the 1970s. Ford also used the Mazda models to establish its own retail presence in Japan – the Autorama dealers sold these cars, plus the occasional Ford US and Ford Europe models. The badge-engineered models came to an end in the early 21st century, as Ford replaced the Laser with its own Focus, and Telstar with its own Mondeo.

The reverse also happened, with Mazda selling badge-engineered Fords in Europe, such as the Mazda 121 based on the Ford Fiesta. Ford and Mazda have moved onto collaboration in a more fundamental sense, by way of platform sharing. 

Starting in 1920, a little company called Toyo Cork Kogyo, Ltd. was founded in Hiroshima, Japan. A humble beginning, started by a man named Mr. Jujiro Matsuda. He was born back in August 6 of 1875.

Mr. Matsuda, along with a small group of investors took over a company named Abemaki Tree Cork Company, renaming it Toyo Cork Kogyo, Ltd. to grow out of cork production and into industrial production.

Come 1929, the company made machine tools, and their first motor vehicle. A test run of 30 tri-cycle trucks were made. By 1931 these same tri-cycle trucks were being exported to China. It was called the “Mazda-Go-a.” The first “Mazda’s”, if you will, were out and about in the world.

Fast forward to the 1960s and Mazda has come along way. In 1961 it introduces the first Mazda Compact Pickup, the Mazda B-Series 1500, and the following years its first 4-door passenger car the Mazda Carol 600. A significant point in Mazda’s history is the release of the Mazda Cosmo Sports 11OS which was Mazda’s first rotary engine vehicle. And by May 30th 1967, Mazda began selling the world’s first two-rotor rotary engine car.

 
Mazda now sells cars and trucks in more than 120 countries. In 1970 Mazda entered the U.S. market, and today more than one-third of Mazda vehicles sold in the U.S. are produced there. Earning a strong reputation on its rotary-engine vehicles, Mazda introduced the world’s only rotary-engine sports car in 2003: the 2004 RX-8. The Ford Motor Company owns about one-third of Mazda.
 
Mazda USA:

Founded CA, 1960 Toyo Kogyo entered the full United States market, outside of California and Hawaii, in 1970 with a single car, the RX-2. The next year there were five cars: The compact Familia-based 1200 and R100, the larger Capella-based 616 and RX-2 and the large 1800. For 1972, the line expanded again with the addition of the RX-3 and B1600; the 1200 and 616 were replaced by the similar 808 and 618, respectively; and the boring 1800 was gone. The piston-powered 618 was gone the next year, as was the R100, but the 1.2 L 1200 was back for a single year.

Mazda quickly rose in prominence, helped in large part to their use of Wankel engines. In 1974, two rotary engine cars, the Rotary Pickup and RX-4, were introduced. In fact, the 808 and B1600 were the only piston-engined Mazdas offered in the United States that year. 1975 had a similar lineup, minus the retired RX-2.

Mazda had designed the REPU and RX-4 with the American market in mind, but the energy crisis was looming. The company’s sales were slipping due to the Wankel’s reputation as a gas hog, so Mazda responded with the reintroduction of a Familia-based car powered by a tiny piston engine, the 1.3 L Mizer. That car, and 1977 GLC (its next-generation brother) saved the company in the United States with terrific reviews and better sales.

Also introduced in 1976 was the Wankel-powered RX-5 Cosmo. But the writing was on the wall for Mazda’s mainstream Wankel lineup – every one of the older "rotary" models was cancelled after 1978.

Even though the Wankel engine had lost its allure, Mazda persevered with the technology and found a niche for it. The 1979 RX-7 rotary was the company’s greatest image-builder yet, casting a halo over the rest of the model line. Also relaunched that year was the company’s entrant in the midsize market, the 626.

The RX-7 and 626 buoyed Mazda’s American fortunes enough for it to expand. Mazda built an American plant (now AutoAlliance International) to build the 626, bringing the company to Ford’s attention. The two joined together on the 626’s 2-door offshoots, the MX-6 and Ford Probe.

Mazda finished the 1980s the same way as the 1970s, with an image-building sports car. The Miata was another tremendous halo car for the company, kicking off an industry boom in the sports car segment. The 3rd-generation RX-7, introduced in 1992, was much liked, but few were sold, causing an end of the model’s importation to Japan just three years later, followed by Europe and most of the U.S. by 1998, though Australia and some U.S. states{including CA}, kept production going until around 2002.What started out as a tiny cork manufacturer in Hiroshima, Japan, today stands as a world leader in the production of commercial and passenger cars.

 
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Toyota History
 

The Toyota Motor company was establish in 1937 as a spin-off from Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, which was one of the worlds leading manufacturers of weaving machinery.

Toyota launched its first small car (SA Model) in 1947. Production of vehicles outside Japan began in 1959 at a small plant in Brazil, and continued with a growing network of overseas plants. Toyota believes in localizing its operations to provide customers with the products they need where they need them; this philosophy builds mutually beneficial long-term relationships with local suppliers and helps the company fulfill its commitments to local labor.

In 1950 the company experienced its one and only strike. Labor and management emerged from this stoppage firmly committed to the principles of mutual trust and dependence, and that corporate philosophy still guides our growth today.

Production systems were improved in the late 1950s, culminating in the establishment of the ‘Toyota Production System.’ It became known as TPS in 1970 but was established much earlier by Taiichi Ohno. Based on the principles of Jidoka, Just-in-time and Kaizen, the system is a major factor in the reduction of inventories and defects in the plants of Toyota and its suppliers, and it underpins all our operations across the World.

Over and above manufacturing, Toyota also has a global network of design and ‘Research and Development’ facilities, embracing the three major car markets of Japan, North America and Europe.

In every community in which the company operates, Toyota strives to be a responsible corporate citizen; close relationships with people and organizations in the local community are essential contributors to mutual prosperity. Across the world, Toyota participates enthusiastically in community activities ranging from the sponsorship of educational and cultural programs to international exchange and research.

Today, Toyota is the world’s third largest manufacturer of automobiles in unit sales and in net sales. It is by far the largest Japanese automotive manufacturer, producing more than 5.5 million vehicles per year, equivalent to one every six seconds. In the time it has taken you to read this paragraph, they would have produced at least another three or four cars!

The Toyota Motor Corporation was founded in September 1933 when Toyoda Automatic Loom created a new division devoted to the production of automobiles under the direction of the founder’s son, Kiichiro Toyoda. Soon thereafter, the division produced its first Type A Engine in 1934, which was used in the first Model A1 passenger car in May 1935 and the G1 truck in August 1935. Production of the Model AA passenger car started in 1936. Early vehicles bear a striking resemblance to the DodgePower Wagon and Chevrolet, with some parts actually interchanging with their American originals. The company was founded in 1933 by Kiichiro Toyoda as an offshoot of Toyoda Automatic Loom Company, under the encouragement of the Japanese government, which needed domestic vehicle production partly due to the worldwide money shortage and partly due to the war with China.

Although the Toyota Group is best known today for its cars, it is still in the textile business and still makes automatic looms, which are now fully computerized, and electric sewing machines which are available worldwide.

Toyota Motor Co. was established as an independent and separate company in 1937. Although the founding family name is Toyoda (豊田), the company name was changed in order to signify the separation of the founders’ work life from home life, to simplify the pronunciation, and to give the company a happy beginning. Toyota (トヨタ) is considered luckier than Toyoda (豊田) in Japan, where eight is regarded as a lucky number, and eight is the number of strokes it takes to write Toyota in katakana. In Chinese, the company and its vehicles are still referred to by the equivalent characters (Traditional Chinese: 豐田; Simplified Chinese:丰田; Pinyin: fēng tián), with Chinese reading.

During the Pacific War (World War II) the company was dedicated to truck production for the Imperial Japanese Army. Because of severe shortages in Japan, military trucks were kept as simple as possible. For example, the trucks had only one headlight on the center of the hood. The war ended shortly before a scheduled Allied bombing run on the Toyota factories in Aichi.

After the war, commercial passenger car production started in 1947 with the model SA. The quality and production principles on which Toyota is based originated in an education program from the United States Army in the postwar era. In 1950 a separate sales company, Toyota Motor Sales Co., was established (which lasted until July 1982). In April 1956 the Toyopet dealer chain was established. The following year, the Toyota Crown became the first Japanese car to be exported to the United States and Toyota’s American and Brazilian divisions, Toyota Motor Sales Inc. and Toyota do Brazil S.A., were also established. Toyota began to expand in the 1960s with a new research and development facility, a presence in Thailand was established, the 10 millionth model was produced, a Deming Prize and partnerships with Hino Motors and Daihatsu were also established. By the end of the decade, Toyota had established a worldwide presence, as the company had exported its one-millionth unit.

The company was awarded its first Japanese Quality Control Award at the start 1970s and began participating in a wide variety of Motorsports. Due to the 1973 oil crisis consumers in the lucrative U.S. market began turning to small cars with better fuel economy. American car manufacturers had considered small economy cars to be an "entry level" product, and their small vehicles were not made to a high level of quality in order to keep the price low. Japanese customers, however, had a long-standing tradition of demanding small fuel-efficient cars that were manufactured to a high level of quality. Because of this, companies like Toyota, Honda, and Nissan established a strong and growing presence in North America in the 1970s.

In 1982, the Toyota Motor Company and Toyota Motor Sales merged into one company, the Toyota Motor Corporation. Two years later, Toyota joined NUMMI, the New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. Toyota then started to establish new brands at the end of the 1980s, with the launch of their luxury division Lexus in 1989.

In the 1990s Toyota began to branch out from producing mostly compact cars by adding many larger and more luxurious vehicles to its lineup, including a full sized pickup, the T100 (and later the Toyota Tundra), several lines of SUVs, a sport version of the Camry, known as the Camry Solara, and the Scion brand, a group of several affordable, yet sporty, automobiles targeted specifically to young adults. Toyota also began production of the world’s best selling hybrid car, the Toyota Prius, in 1997.

With a major presence with Europe, due to the success of Toyota Team Europe, the corporation decided to set up TMME, Toyota Motor Europe Marketing & Engineering, to help market vehicles in the continent. Two years later, Toyota set up a base in the United Kingdom, TMUK, as the company’s cars had become very popular among British drivers. Bases in Indiana, Virginia and Tianjin were also set up. In 1999, the company decided to list itself on the New York and London Stock Exchange.

In 2001, Toyota’s Toyo Trust and Banking> merged to form the UFJ, United Financials of Japan, which was accused of corruption by the Japan’s government for making bad loans to alleged Yakuza crime syndicates with executives accused of blocking Financial Service Agency inspections. At the time, the UFJ was one of the largest shareholders of Toyota. As a result of Japan’s banking crisis, the UFJ was merged again to become Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group.

In 2002, Toyota managed to enter a Formula One works team and establish joint ventures with French motoring companies Citroën and Peugeot, a year after Toyota started producing cars in France.

On December 7, 2004, a U.S. press release was issued stating that Toyota would be offering Sirius Satellite Radios. However, as late as Jan. 27, 2007, Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite radio kits were not available for Toyota factory radios. While the press release enumerated nine models, only limited availability existed at the dealer level in the U.S. Major Lexus dealerships have been offering satellite radio kits for Lexus vehicles since 2005, in addition to factory-equipped satellite radio models.

In 2007, Toyota released an update of its full size truck, the Toyota Tundra, produced in two American factories, one in Texas and one in Indiana, and "Motor Trend" named the 2007 Toyota Camry "Car of the Year" for 2007. It also began the construction of a new factory to build the Toyota Highlander in Blue Springs, Mississippi.

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Honda History
 
 
Soichiro Honda was a mechanic who, after working at Art Shokai, developed his own design for piston rings in 1938. He attempted to sell them to Toyota who did not reject his first design as believed. He constructed a new facility to supply Toyota, but soon after, druing World War II, the Honda piston manufacturing facilities were almost completely destroyed.

Soichiro Honda created a new company with what he had left in the Japanese market that was decimated by World War II; his country was starved of money and fuel, but still in need of basic transportation. Honda, utilizing his manufacturing facilities, attached an engine to a bicycle which created a cheap and efficient transport. He gave his company the name Honda Giken Kōgyō Kabushiki Kaisha which translates to Honda Research Institute Company Ltd. Despite its grandiose name, the first facility bearing that name was a simple wooden shack where Mr. Honda and his associates would fit the engines to bicycles. The official Japanese name for Honda Motor Company Ltd. remains the same in honor of Soichiro Honda’s efforts. On 24 September, 1948 the Honda Motor Co. was officially founded in Japan.

Honda began to produce a range of scooters and motorcycles and Soichiro Honda quickly recovered from the losses incurred during the war. Honda’s first motorcycle to be put on sale was the 1947 A-Type (one year before the company was officially founded). However, Honda’s first full-fledged motorcycle on the market was the 1949 Dream D-Type. It was equipped with a 98cc engine producing around 3 horsepower. This was followed by a number of successful launches of highly popular scooters throughout the 1950s.

In 1958, the American Honda Company was founded and only one year later, Honda introduced its first model in the United States, the 1959 Honda C100 Super Cub. The Honda Cub holds the title of being the best-selling vehicle in history, with around 50 million units sold around the world. By the 1970s, Honda was the largest producer of motorcycles in the world, a title it has never relinquished.

In the United States during the 1960s, large motorcycles had the image of being ridden by tough, hardened characters. It was an image fostered by owners of Harley Davidson motorcycles, but Honda countered this public perception with their successful "You meet the nicest people on a Honda" advertising program. Honda introduced their new SOHC inline 4-cylinder 750 in 1969 , which was immediately successful and established this configuration as one of the most popular for performance motorcycles, even to this day.

Honda began developing prototypes for road cars in the early 1960s, mostly intended for the Japanese market. The first production vehicle by Honda was the 1963 T360, a tiny pickup truck featuring 4 different body styles (including a traditional truck bed and a panel van) and a 360cc, 30hp engine. This was followed two months later by Honda’s first production automobile, the S500. The S500 was a 2 door roadster featuring a 492cc engine capable of 44 hp with a high 9,500 RPM redline. It was fitted to a 4-speed transmission with the rear wheels being chain driven. Mr. Honda took his extensive knowledge of motorcycles and applied it to making his car, of which the chain drive and high redline are evidence.

At the time, nearly all of the Japanese automakers were associated with the former zaibatsu, or keiretsu–Japanese business conglomerates. These large companies had close ties with the government who urged them to absorb smaller carmakers into large brands that could be marketed internationally. Since the government had extensive control over the industry, it was unheard of for a small, independent company to mass produce vehicles, thus making Honda’s success historical in the Japanese economy.

Though participating in international motorsport (see Racing), Honda was having difficulty selling its automobiles in the United States. Built for Japanese buyers, Honda’s small cars had failed to gain the interest of American buyers. Honda’s first automobile imported to the United States was the N600, sold in Hawaii in 1969. In 1970 , the car was imported to California and beyond, but its tiny 600 cc engine and minuscule dimensions made it very unpopular with the American public. Arismendy Mateo was one of the first Honda technicians in the U.S and still works till this day at Potamkin Honda in North Miami Beach, Fl.

Honda finally established a foothold in the American market in 1972 with the introduction of the Civic – larger thn their previous models, but still small compared to the typical American car—just as the 1973 energy crisis was impacting worldwide economies. New emissions laws in the US requiring American car makers to add expensive smog pumps and catalytic converters to engines increased car prices. However, Honda introduced an innovative variation on the stratified charge engine, the CVCC (Compound Vortex-Controlled Combustion) in the 1975 Civic, this allowed the Civic to meet emission standards without a smog pump or a catalytic converter. Due to its more complete combustion it also obtained the lowest fuel consumption rating of any vehicle available on the American market for four years during its production. American companies were slow to begin producing small, fuel efficient cars, which gave the Honda Civic a chance to sell well, as well as prove Honda’s reputation for reliability and further expand its customer loyalty.

 
In 1976 , the new, larger-than-the-Civic Accord was immediately popular because of its value, economy, and fun-to-drive nature. The Accord has since consistently been one of the best selling cars in the United States, and evolved into a large mid-size for the North American market with V6 and hybrid versions.

In 1982 , Honda was the first Japanese car manufacturer to build car plants in the US, starting with an Accord plant in Marysville, Ohio. They now have four plants located in Ohio: two in Marysville (the Marysville Auto Plant and the Marysville Motorcycle Plant), Anna, Ohio, and East Liberty, Ohio. They also have plants in Lincoln, Alabama(Honda Manufacturing of Alabama) and Timmonsville, South Carolina and have recently (2006) opened a new plant in Tallapoosa, Georgia. Honda also has an extensive aftermarket parts operation located in Marysville, Ohio, and a research and development facility in Raymond, Ohio. Honda’s North American and U.S. headquarters are located in Torrance, California. Honda’s Canadian and many US-market Civics have been manufactured in their plant in Alliston, Ontario since 1986 . On 27 June, 2006, Honda announced that another vehicle assembly facility will be opening in North America, this time in Greensburg, Indiana. Its completion is expected in 2008.

Honda was the first Japanese automaker to introduce a separate luxury line of vehicles. Created in 1986 and known as Acura, the line is made up of modified versions of Honda vehicles usually with more power and sportiness than their Honda counterparts. The very first model was the Acura Legend, with a 2.5 liter engine producing 151 horsepower. European luxury-car manufacturers initially scoffed at the thought of a luxury company from Japan, with criticism coming mostly from Mercedes-Benz.

1987 was an important year for new safety and technology at Honda. The 1987 Honda Prelude was the first passenger vehicle in the world equipped with four-wheel steering (4WS) technology. This also marked the year for the first Japanese car equipped with an SRS airbag, the Honda (Acura) Legend.

In 1989 Honda launched their VTEC variable valve timing system in its production car engines, which gave improved efficiency and performance across a broader range of engine speeds. One of the first of its kind in passenger vehicles, it worked on the premise of tuning one engine to operate at two different ‘settings’ depending on load. Normal driving would use a "shorter" camshaft lobe that resulted in more efficient operation. A more aggressive, longer duration, cam engages when engine RPM reaches a set point resulting in more power during hard acceleration.

In 1999 Honda began selling the Insight which is a small two-seat hybrid vehicle. Power is derived from a combination of a 1.0L 3-cylinder gasoline engine, and a large NiMH battery pack providing power-assist during acceleration. This computer-controlled combination provided acceptable performance with exceptionally low fuel consumption and emissions. Honda’s hybrid power train in now an available option for the Civic and Accord.

For the 2007 model year, Honda plans to improve the safety of its vehicles by providing front-seat mounted side airbags, side-curtain airbags, and anti-lock brakes as standard equipment in all automobiles available in North America (except the Insight and S2000, which will not have side-curtain airbags). By 2008, Honda plans to have standard traction with vehicle stability control with rollover sensors in all light trucks, which include the CR-V, Odyssey, Pilot, and Acura MDX. Honda also plans to make its vehicles safer for pedestrians, with more safely-designed hoods, hinges, frame constructs, and breakaway wiper pivots.Soichiro Honda began by manufacturing piston rings in November 1937. He quickly became a sub-contractor to Toyota. Honda then expanded into other engine parts and even airscrews.

On September 24, 1948, Soichiro Honda took advantage of a gap in the Japanese market. Decimated by World War II, Japan was starved of money and fuel, but still in need of basic transport. Honda, utilizing his manufacturing facilities, attached an engine to a bicycle, creating the cheap and efficient transport that was required.

Honda quickly began to produce a range of scooters and motorcycles. By the late 1960s, Honda had conquered most world markets. The British were especially slow to respond to the Honda introduction of electric starters to motorcycles. By the 1970s, Honda was the largest producer of motorcycles in the world, a title it has never relinquished.

Honda began producing road cars in 1960, mostly intended for the Japanese market. Though participating in international motorsport (see Racing), Honda was having difficulty selling its automobiles in the United States. Built for Japanese buyers, Honda’s small cars had failed to gain the interest of American buyers.

Honda finally established a foothold in the American market in 1972 with the introduction of the Civic?larger than their previous models, but still small compared to the typical American car?just as the 1970s energy crisis was impacting worldwide economies. New emissions laws in the US, requiring American car makers to affix expensive catalytic converters to exhaust systems (noticeably increasing sticker prices). However, Honda’s introduction of the 1975 Civic CVCC, CVCC being a variation on the stratified charge engine, allowed the Civic to pass emissions tests without a catalytic converter.

In 1976, the Accord was immediately popular because of its economy and fun-to-drive nature; Honda had found its niche in the United States. In 1982, Honda was the first Japanese car manufacturer to build car plants in the US, starting with an Accord plant in Marysville, Ohio. They now have plants in Marysville, Anna, and East Liberty, as well as in Lincoln, Alabama (Honda Manufacturing of Alabama), and Timmonsville, South Carolina, and plan to open a new plant in Tallapoosa, Georgia. Honda’s North American headquarters are located in Torrance, California.

Honda was also the first Japanese automaker to introduce a separate luxury line of vehicles. Created in 1986 and known as Acura, the line is made up of modified versions of Honda vehicles usually with more power and sportiness than their Honda counterparts.

In a move that was set to revolutionalize the way carmakers tuned their engines1989, Honda launched its VTEC variable valve timing system in its car engines, which gave improved efficiency and performance across a broader range of engine speeds. One of the first of its kind in passenger vehicles, it worked on the premise of tuning one engine to operate at two different ‘settings’ depending on speed. Low-speed driving would use a "shorter" cam lobe that resulted in more power and torque low down, but then a more aggressive "longer" cam during high-speeds for continued acceleration. The result was that the driver had the ‘best of both worlds’, and many automakers today have introduced their own versions of variable valve timing. The technology is now standard across the whole Honda range.

For the 2007 model year, Honda plans to improve the safety of its vehicles by providing front-seat side airbags, side-curtain airbags, and anti-lock brakes as standard equipment in all automobiles available in North America (except the Insight, S2000, and Acura NSX, which will not have side-curtain airbags). By 2006, Honda plans to have as standard equipment Vehicle Safety Assist and rollover sensors in all light trucks, including the CR-V, Odyssey, and Acura MDX. Honda also plans to make its vehicles safer for pedestrians, with more safely-designed hoods, hinges, frame constructs, and breakaway wiper pivots.

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Posted by on July 12, 2007 in Organizations

 

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