Upon its foundation in Hiroshima in 1921, the Toyo Cork Kogyo Co. (Toyo), later known as Mazda, started production with machine tools. At Toyo's head was Jujiro Matsuda. The first vehicles Toyo made in the 1930s were a type of three-wheel truck, called Mazda. When the atomic bomb was dropped in 1945 it ravaged Hirsohima. However, Toyo's plant was far enough away it was not harmed and Matsuda led Toyo in revitalizing Hiroshima's economy. Because of Matsuda's contributions to the community, after his death in 1952 a bronze statue of him was erected in Minami-ku Park.
Toyo's first car was the R360 coupe introduced in 1960 and despite its sportiness was affordable for even the average worker. By 1966 Toyo had also released the B-Series compact pickup, Carol 600 sedan, Familia van, the Proceed, Bongo and Luce. During the decade Toyo also established itself overseas in Europe, Australia and Canada. Then in 1970 Toyo began exporting to the US starting with the Capella RX-2 sports saloon, which gained attention for being the first rotary engine vehicle (an early type internal combustion) with automatic transmission. A year later Mazda Motors of America was established. At this time Toyo was still the company title but the name Mazda was becoming attributed to it. Toward the end of the 1970s Toyo experienced financial difficulties and Ford bought 25% of the shares for support.
In 1982 the Capella was reborn as the 626. The following year the 626 was awarded Motor Trend's Import Car of the Year. Toyo officially changed its name to Mazda Motor Corporation in 1984. A lightweight sports convertible appeared in 1989 called the Roadster or MX-5, but known in North America as the Miata. In both the US and Japan the Miata was a bestseller and known for its good handling and affordability.
In the 1990s Mazda began implementing environmentally-conscious efforts, adopting the Mazda Global Environmental Charter. Mazda developed natural gas-powered engines and fuel cell electric vehicles such as the Demio.
Environmental efforts have continued into the new millennium. Mazda has also introduced the Tribute compact SUV and the award-winning Mazda 6 sedan. The popular "Zoom, zoom" ads featuring young Micah Kanters whispering the phrase began in 2002.