How Small and Scrappy Mazda Competes With the Big Automakers

Akio Kon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Mazda is a small independent manufacturer that sells a fraction of the cars churned out by the world's largest automakers. And being a small automaker in 2021 is not easy.

But the company has managed to carve out a reputation for building cars that are fun to drive and offer good value for the money, according to industry experts.

It's MX-5 Miata roadster has attained a kind of iconic status, and it's one of the best-selling two-seat roadsters of all time.

Mazda has also made other cars beloved by enthusiasts, such as the RX-7.

Mazda has also been something of an innovator in engines. For 50 years, it stocked its vehicles with rotary engines — a highly unusual engine design. In recent years, it has made strides toward improving the efficiency of gasoline engines with its Skyactiv technology.

But electric vehicles are gaining market share, and Mazda doesn't have the deep pockets automakers like Volkswagen, Toyota, and General Motors have.

To be sure, Toyota has a 5% stake in Mazda, and the two are partnering on building vehicles and EV technology. These kinds of partnerships are deemed increasingly important now that all automakers are expected by investors, governments, and customers. They may also give a small manufacturer like Mazda a chance to survive.

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