Mazda History: Mazda started as a machine tool business called the Toyo Cork Kogyo Company in 1920, who began building automobiles in 1931. The company stopped production during World War II to produce weapons for Japan. They built their first Mazda in 1931. By 1960 they were an established automaker and entered the American market ten years later. Mazda gained notoriety when their revolutionary Wankel rotary engine outperformed the piston competitors. Toyo Cork Kogyo didn't officially adopt the Mazda marquee until 1984 and in 1996 the Ford Motor Company became the majority stock holder and took control. Ford based several of its models, like the Probe, Escort, Mercury Tracer and Escape on Mazda designs, which lead the way for Ford to sell vehicles in Asia, Australia and Japan.
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