Mazda Motor Corporation is an auto manufacturer based in Hiroshima, Japan. Most of Mazda’s vehicles are produced in Japan, although the company does own and operate other manufacturing facilities around the world. Mazda passenger cars are sold globally, although specific vehicle models and configurations are limited to certain regions. The company was founded in Japan in 1920 as an industrial manufacturing company, but changed to production of vehicles in 1931, and in 1984, the company changed its name to Mazda, even though all of its previous vehicles bore the Mazda name. Much of Mazda’s reputation in the passenger car market is based on its successful development and marketing of the Wankel rotary engine, which helped increase global demand for Mazda cars, including, eventually, Mazda sport utility vehicles. Mazda entered the Canadian market in 1959 and entered the United States market in 1970 with the establishment of Mazda North American Operations. A couple decades of financial struggles led to Mazda’s partnership with Ford Motor Company, which lent Mazda some financial solvency as well as access to resources that could help the Mazda brand, especially in the North American market. One of the results of this partnership was the co-development of Mazda and Ford vehicles, resulting in more desirable models such as Mazda SUVs. Some of these Mazda sport utility vehicles were more successful than others, though.
One such example of an early Mazda sport utility vehicle is the Navajo, a full size SUV that was developed alongside the 1991 Ford Explorer. The Mazda Navajo was sold only from 1991 until 1994, although the Ford Explorer became wildly successful and was the best selling SUV in the United States for more than ten years, even though the two sport utility vehicles were very similar. Later Mazda sport utility vehicles have been more successful, especially those in the crossover SUV category. The Mazda CX-7, a mid size crossover, made its debut in 2006 and was produced until 2012. The CX-7 was a four-door vehicle available in front-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive versions. It was built in Hiroshima, Japan, and was composed of components from several other Mazda vehicles, such as the MPV front suspension, Mazda5 rear suspension, and Mazdaspeed6 drivetrain. It was discontinued to make way for the CX-5, which was introduced as a 2013 model year vehicle. The CX-5 is a compact crossover Mazda SUV, also available with a choice of front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. It sits alongside the Mazda CX-9 full size crossover, built on a platform borrowed from the Ford Edge, and it also uses a Ford V6 engine.