Mazda began its life in 1910 as Toyo Cork Kogyo producing Machine tools, it wasn't until 1931 they launched their first car the Mazda-Go. Throughout the second World War, they produced weapons for the Japanese military.
In 1960 Mazda developed the Wankel engine, as an alternative to the piston engine found in most vehicles. The engine is still used today in Mazda's RX-8.
It was during the 1960's that Ford took an interest in the financial troubles occurring at Mazda, it acquired a 7% stake, increasing this to 20% in the 1980's and to 33.9% in 1997. During the world recession in 2008 Ford announced plans to sell 20% of its stake in Mazda
The link up with Ford allowed platforms and even production capacity to be shared. The Mazda 121 was for a time a variant of the Ford Fiesta.
Mazda cars remain a popular choice, with their range now consisting of the Mazda 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 & RX-8. As is typical with most Japanese built cars, the reliability is considered to be amongst the best and as a result used Mazda's are popular and ensure that anyone selling a Mazda shouldn't have to try too hard to get a good price.