Having just celebrated our centennial in 2020, Mazda has been in business since 1920. But the company known today for crafting powerful, dynamic vehicles wasn’t always an automaker. Rather, we began under an entirely different name producing something that, at first glance, has nothing to do with vehicles — cork.

Today, cork is featured in our first all-electric vehicle, the Mazda MX-30. Beyond the importance of its low environmental impact, using cork has an especially significant meaning to Mazda as the sustainable material also pays homage to our origin story.

Unexpected Beginnings

In 1920, the Toyo Cork Kogo Corporation was founded by Shinpachi Kaizuka in Hiroshima, Japan. Focused on cork production, the company eventually broadened its horizons to machine tools. Then, in October of 1931 everything changed.

Now going by the name Toyo Kogo Co. Ltd., “Mazda-go” was introduced. This tricycle truck, the very first vehicle made by the company, entirely reset our future. Soon after, more small vehicles were produced for the Japanese market, the Wankel rotary engine was perfected, and our company began to expand.

By 1970, just 39 years since the tricycle truck was introduced in Japan, Mazda Motor of America (N.W.), Inc. was established in Seattle, Washington. On April 14, 1970, the first U.S. imports made their way from Hiroshima to the port of Seattle and U.S. vehicle sales began.

A Future Inspired by the Past

Now, 51 years since the first imports arrived, the material that started it all is featured prominently in yet another historic company moment — the release of our first all-electric vehicle, the Mazda MX-30. More than a nod to our roots, the use of cork in the Mazda MX-30’s interior design is a signal of commitment like none other.


Adding warmth and texture to both the floating center console and the door grips, as one of the most highly renewable and eco-friendly resources available, cork is a nod to Mazda’s commitment to the environment as well as our own story.

While cork has pride of place in the center of the vehicle, it’s not the only sustainable material.

The door trim offers an airy texture thanks to a material made from recycled plastic bottles — yet another first introduced in Mazda’s inaugural EV. Pure White leatherette seats are layered with a warm grey upholstery are accented by tan stitching, invoking a modern approach. For a classic twist, Vintage Brown leatherette seats feature the same warm gray upholstery with black stitching. Both available interior color schemes nod to the earth-toned cork details. Proving that sustainable design can be unequivocally beautiful, the Mazda MX-30 interior offers a subtle, mature design that is all at once airy and welcoming.

Mazda prides itself on craftsmanship and blending complex, quality materials to develop elegant interiors. Naturally, this story continues in the MX-30. Mazda’s commitment to the environment, and to comfort and craftsmanship, is made all the more evident in these unique implementations of cork, recycled threads and other sustainable materials.

Drawing from our past as we move forward, cork will always be part of Mazda’s story. Click here to learn more.

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