History of Craft Spirit

Great Cars of Mazda

Familia Part 1: Starting life as a van
The celebrated Familia was originally designed to cater to family outings. It began life as a modern van and went on to transform the image of commercial vehicles. In 1960, Mazda was planning to make inroads into the compact passenger vehicle segment and was developing a sedan equipped with a 600cc to 800cc watercooled engine, with the aim of becoming a fullscale automaker. On another front, market surveys indicated that customer preferences were leaning toward a light van with performance and comfort a class above micro-mini commercial vehicles. The company took notice and the focus of the development plans shifted from sedans to lightweight vans. The result was the Familia Van that was launched in September 1963. It came equipped with a 782cc new aluminum alloy watercooled inline four-cylinder engine. Commercialization of this all aluminum alloy engine was made possible by advanced diecasting, shell molding and machining technologies that only Mazda possessed at that time. The Familia Van gained a favorable reputation for its engine and its distinctive taut, linear design. By February 1964, just four months after its launch, the model had climbed to the top of its class with a 44 percent market share.


Familia Sedan changes the course of sedan history

While production of the Familia Van was expanding, Mazda exhibited the Mazda 700 compact passenger car at the 1961 Tokyo Motor Show and the Mazda 1000 prototype model the year after. In response to this favorable reception, Mazda progressed towards development of a Familia Sedan that would break the mold of conventional micro-minis with a design to suit the sensibilities of modern motorists. The result was the Familia Sedan launched in October 1964. It soon gained a name for itself as a model that delivered a balanced blend of performance, style and comfort. In the first month of sales, it garnered a 23-percent market share. Mazda added a wagon, a two-door sedan and a truck to the Familia series and in December 1964 recorded an annual production volume topping 10,000 units. The Familia had established itself as Mazda's prime model.


Mazda 1000 on display at the 1962 Tokyo Motor Show.

Mazda 1000 on display at the 1962 Tokyo Motor Show.