Automotive industry in Japan
The automotive industry in Japan is one of the most prominent and largest industries in the world. Japan has been in the top three of the countries with most cars manufactured since the 1960s, surpassing Germany; the automotive industry in Japan increased from the 1970s to the 1990s and in the 1980s and 1990s, overtook the U. S. as the production leader with up to 13 million cars per year manufactured and significant exports. After massive ramp-up by China in the 2000s and fluctuating U. S. output, Japan is now the third largest automotive producer in the world with an annual production of 9.9 million automobiles in 2012. Japanese investments helped grow the auto industry in many countries throughout the last few decades. Japanese zaibatsu began building their first automobiles in the middle to late 1910s; the companies went about this by either designing their own trucks, or partnering with a European brand to produce and sell their cars in Japan under license. Such examples of this are Isuzu partnering with Wolseley Motors, Nissan partnering with British automaker Austin, the Mitsubishi Model A, based upon the Fiat Tipo 3.
The demand for domestic trucks was increased by the Japanese military buildup before World War II, causing many Japanese manufacturers to break out of their shells and design their own vehicles. In the 1970s Japan was the pioneer in robotics manufacturing of vehicles; the country is home to a number of companies that produce cars, construction vehicles, motorcycles, ATVs, engines. Japanese automotive manufacturers include Toyota, Daihatsu, Suzuki, Mitsubishi, Isuzu, Kawasaki and Mitsuoka. Cars designed in Japan have won the European Car of the Year, International Car of the Year, World Car of the Year awards many times. Japanese vehicles have had worldwide influence, no longer have the stigma they had in the 1950s and 1960s when they first emerged internationally. In 1904, Torao Yamaha produced the first domestically manufactured bus, powered by a steam engine. In 1907, Komanosuke Uchiyama produced the Takuri, the first Japanese-made gasoline engine car; the Kunisue Automobile Works built the Kunisue in 1910, the following year manufactured the Tokyo in cooperation with Tokyo Motor Vehicles Ltd.
In 1911, Kaishinsha Motorcar Works was established and began manufacturing a car called the DAT. In 1920, Jitsuyo Jidosha Seizo Co. founded by William R. Gorham, began building the Gorham and the Lila; the company merged with Kaishinsha in 1926 to form the DAT Automobile Manufacturing Co.. From 1924 to 1927, Hakuyosha Ironworks Ltd. built the Otomo. Toyota, a textile manufacturer, began building cars in 1936. Most early vehicles, were trucks produced under military subsidy. Isuzu and Daihatsu focused on diesel engine development. Cars built in Japan before World War II tended to be based on American models; the 1917 Mitsubishi Model A was based on the Fiat A3-3 design. In the 1930s, Nissan Motors' cars were based on the Austin 7 and Graham-Paige designs, while the Toyota AA model was based on the Chrysler Airflow. Ohta built cars in the 1930s based on Ford models, while Chiyoda built a car resembling a 1935 Pontiac, Sumida built a car similar to a LaSalle. Automobile manufacture from Japanese companies was struggling, despite investment efforts by the Japanese Government.
The 1923 Great Kantō earthquake devastated most of Japan's fledgling infrastructure and truck and construction equipment manufacturing benefited from recovery efforts. Yanase & Co. Ltd. was an importer of American-made cars to Japan and contributed to disaster recovery efforts by importing GMC trucks and construction equipment. By bringing in American products, Japanese manufacturers were able to examine the imported vehicles and develop their own products. From 1925 until the beginning of World War II, Ford and GM had factories in Japan, where they dominated the Japanese market; the Ford Motor Company of Japan was established in 1925 and a production plant was set up in Yokohama. General Motors established operations in Osaka in 1927. Chrysler came to Japan and set up Kyoritsu Motors. Between 1925 and 1936, the United States Big Three automakers' Japanese subsidiaries produced a total of 208,967 vehicles, compared to the domestic producers total of 12,127 vehicles. In 1936, the Japanese government passed the Automobile Manufacturing Industry Law, intended to promote the domestic auto industry and reduce foreign competition.
Instead by 1939, the foreign manufacturers had been forced out of Japan. Vehicle production was shifted in the late 1930s to truck production due to the Second Sino-Japanese War. During World War II, Nissan and Kurogane built trucks and motorcycles for the Imperial Japanese Army, with Kurogane introducing the worlds first mass-produced four-wheel-drive car, called the Kurogane Type 95 in 1936. For the first decade after World War II, auto production was limited, until 1966 most production consisted of trucks. Thereafter passenger cars dominated the market. Japanese car designs continued to imitate or be derived from European and American designs. Exports were limited in the 1950s, adding up to onl
Economy of Japan
The economy of Japan is a developed and market-oriented economy. It is the third-largest in the world by nominal GDP and the fourth-largest by purchasing power parity, and is the world's second largest developed economy. Japan is a member of the G7. According to the International Monetary Fund, the country's per capita GDP was at $38,937. Due to a volatile currency exchange rate, Japan's GDP as measured in dollars fluctuates sharply. Accounting for these fluctuations through use of the Atlas method, Japan is estimated to have a GDP per capita of around $38,490; the Japanese economy is forecast by the Quarterly Tankan survey of business sentiment conducted by the Bank of Japan. The Nikkei 225 presents the monthly report of top Blue chip equities on Japan Exchange Group. Japan is the world's third largest automobile manufacturing country, has the largest electronics goods industry, is ranked among the world's most innovative countries leading several measures of global patent filings. Facing increasing competition from China and South Korea, manufacturing in Japan today now focuses on high-tech and precision goods, such as optical instruments, hybrid vehicles, robotics.
Besides the Kantō region, the Kansai region is one of the leading industrial clusters and manufacturing centers for the Japanese economy. The size and industrial structure of cities in Japan have maintained tight regularities despite substantial churning of population and industries across cities overtime. Japan is the world's largest creditor nation. Japan runs an annual trade surplus and has a considerable net international investment surplus; as of 2010, Japan possesses 13.7% of the world's private financial assets at an estimated $13.5 trillion. As of 2015, 54 of the Fortune Global 500 companies are based in Japan, down from 62 in 2013. Japan has the highest ratio of public debt to GDP of any developed nation. However, the national debt is predominantly owned by Japanese nationals; the Japanese economy faces considerable challenges posed by a declining population. Statistics showed an official decline for the first time in 2015, while projections suggest that it will continue to fall from 127 million down to below 100 million by the middle of the 21st century.
In the three decades of economic development following 1960, rapid economic growth referred to as the Japanese post-war economic miracle occurred. By the guidance of Ministry of Economy and Industry, with average growth rates of 10% in the 1960s, 5% in the 1970s, 4% in the 1980s, Japan was able to establish and maintain itself as the world's second largest economy from 1978 until 2010, when it was surpassed by the People's Republic of China. By 1990, income per capita in Japan surpassed that in most countries in the West. During the second half of the 1980s, rising stock and real estate prices created an economic bubble; the economic bubble came to an abrupt end as the Tokyo Stock Exchange crashed in 1990–92 and real estate prices peaked in 1991. Growth in Japan throughout the 1990s at 1.5% was slower than global growth, giving rise to the term Lost Decade. After another decade of low growth rate, the term became the Lost 20 Years. Nonetheless, GDP per capita growth from 2001 to 2010 has still managed to outpace Europe and the United States.
With this low growth rate, the national debt of Japan has expanded due to its considerable social welfare spending in an aging society with a shrinking tax-base. The scenario of "Abandoned homes" continues to spread from rural areas to urban areas in Japan. A mountainous, volcanic island country, Japan has inadequate natural resources to support its growing economy and large population, therefore exports goods in which it has a comparative advantage such as engineering-oriented and development-led industrial products in exchange for the import of raw materials and petroleum. Japan is among the top-three importers for agricultural products in the world next to the European Union and United States in total volume for covering of its own domestic agricultural consumption. Japan is the world's largest single national importer of fishery products. Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market is the largest wholesale market for primary products in Japan, including the renowned Tsukiji fish market.
Japanese whaling, ostensibly for research purposes, has been sued as illegal under international law. Although many kinds of minerals were extracted throughout the country, most mineral resources had to be imported in the postwar era. Local deposits of metal-bearing ores were difficult to process; the nation's large and varied forest resources, which covered 70 percent of the country in the late 1980s, were not utilized extensively. Because of political decisions on local and national levels, Japan decided not to exploit its forest resources for economic gain. Domestic sources only supplied between 30 percent of the nation's timber needs. Agriculture and fishing were the best developed resources, but only through years of painstaking investment and toil; the nation therefore built up the manufacturing and processing industries to convert raw materials imported from abroad. This strategy of economic development necessitated the establishment of a strong economic infrastructure to provide the needed energy, transportation and technological know-how.
Deposits of gold and silver meet current industrial demands, but Japan is dependent on foreign sources for many of the minerals essential to modern industry. Iron ore, copper and alumina must be imported, as well as many forest products; the economic history of Japan is one of the most studied economies for its spectacular growth in three different periods. First w
Transport in Japan
Transport in Japan is modern and developed. Japan's transport sector stands out for its energy efficiency: it uses less energy per person compared to other countries, thanks to a high share of rail transport and low overall travel distances. Transport in Japan is very expensive in international comparison, reflecting high tolls and taxes on automobile transport. Japan's spending on roads has been large; the 1.2 million kilometres of paved road are the main means of transport. Japan has left-hand traffic. A single network of high-speed, limited-access toll roads connects major cities, which are operated by toll-collecting enterprises. Dozens of Japanese railway companies compete in local passenger transport markets. Strategies of these enterprises contain real estate or department stores next to stations; some 250 high-speed Shinkansen trains connect major cities. All trains are known for punctuality. There are 176 airports, the largest domestic airport, Haneda Airport, is Asia's busiest airport; the largest international gateways are Narita International Airport, Kansai International Airport, Chūbu Centrair International Airport.
The largest ports include Nagoya Port. In Japan, railways are a major means of passenger transport for mass and high-speed transport between major cities and for commuter transport in metropolitan areas. Seven Japan Railways Group companies, state-owned until 1987, cover most parts of Japan. There are railway services operated by private rail companies, regional governments, companies funded by both regional governments and private companies. Total railways of 27,182 km include several track gauges, the most common of, 1,067 mm narrow gauge, with 22,301 km of track of which 15,222 km is electrified. Fukuoka, Kyoto, Osaka, Sendai and Yokohama have subway systems. Most Japanese people travelled on foot until the part of the 19th century; the first railway was built between Tokyo's Shimbashi Station and Yokohama's former Yokohama Station in 1872. Many more railways developed soon afterward. Japan, as we know it today, is home to one of the world's most developed transport networks. Mass transport is well developed in Japan, but the road system lags behind and is inadequate for the number of cars owned in Japan.
This is attributed to the fact that road construction is difficult in Japan because of its uniquely high population density, the limited amount of available usable land for road construction. The Shinkansen, or "bullet trains", as they are known, are the high-speed rail trains that run across Japan; the 2,387 km of 8 Shinkansen lines run on separate lines from their commuting train counterparts, with a few exceptions. Shinkansen take up a large portion of the long distance travel in Japan, with the whole system carrying over 10 billion passengers in its lifetime. 1,114 journeys are made daily, with the fastest train being the JR East E5 and E6 series trains, which operate at a maximum speed of 320 km/h. Shinkansen trains are known to be safe, with no accident-related deaths or injuries from passengers in its 50-plus year history. Shinkansen trains are known to be punctual, following suit with all other Japanese transport. Japan has been trying to sell its Shinkansen technology overseas, has struck deals to help build systems in India and the United States.
The first Shinkansen line opened between Tokyo and Osaka in 1964, trains can now make the journey in 2 hours and 25 minutes. Additional Shinkansen lines connect Tokyo to Aomori, Niigata and Hakodate and Osaka to Fukuoka and Kagoshima, with new lines under construction to Tsuruga and Nagasaki. Japan has been developing maglev technology trains, broke the world maglev speed record in April 2015 with a train travelling at the speed of 603 km/h; the Chūō Shinkansen, a commercial maglev service, is under construction from Tokyo to Nagoya and Osaka, when completed in 2045 will cover the distance in 67 minutes, half the time of the current Shinkansen. According to Japan Statistical Yearbook 2015, Japan in April 2012 had 1,215,000 km of roads made up of 1,022,000 km of city and village roads, 129,000 km of prefectural roads, 55,000 km of general national highways and 8,050 km of national expressways; the Foreign Press Center/Japan cites a total length of expressways at 7,641 km. A single network of high-speed, limited-access toll roads connects major cities on Honshu and Kyushu.
Hokkaido has a separate network, Okinawa Island has a highway of this type. In the year 2005, the toll collecting companies Japan Highway Public Corporation, have been transformed into private companies in public ownership, there are plans to sell parts of them; the aim of this policy is to encourage decrease tolls. Road passenger and freight transport expanded during the 1980s as private ownership of motor vehicles increased along with the quality and extent of the nation's roads. Bus companies including the JR Bus companies operate long-distance bus services on the nation's expanding expressway network. In addition to low fares and deluxe seating, the buses are well utilised because they continue service during the night, when air and train services are limited; the cargo sector grew in the 1980s, recording 274.2 billion tonne-kilometres in 1990. The freight handled by motor vehicles truc
Hybrid Synergy Drive
Hybrid Synergy Drive is the brand name of Toyota Motor Corporation for the hybrid car drive train technology used in vehicles with the Toyota and Lexus marques. First introduced on the Prius, the technology is an option on several other Toyota and Lexus vehicles and has been adapted for the electric drive system of the hydrogen-powered Mirai, for a plug-in hybrid version of the Prius. Toyota licensed its HSD technology to Nissan for use in its Nissan Altima Hybrid, its parts supplier Aisin Seiki Co. offers similar hybrid transmissions to other car companies. HSD technology produces a full hybrid vehicle which allows the car to run on the electric motor only, as opposed to most other brand hybrids which cannot and are considered mild hybrids; the HSD combines an electric drive and a planetary gearset which performs to a continuously variable transmission. The Synergy Drive is a drive-by-wire system with no direct mechanical connection between the engine and the engine controls: both the gas pedal/accelerator and the gearshift lever in an HSD car send electrical signals to a control computer.
HSD is a refinement of the original Toyota Hybrid System used in the 1997 to 2003 Toyota Prius. The second generation system THS II first appeared on the redesigned Prius in 2004; the name was changed in anticipation of its use in vehicles outside the Toyota brand (Lexus. The THS III is designed for increased power and efficiency, improved "scalability", wherein the ICE/MG1 and the MG2 have separate reduction paths, are combined in a "compound" gear, connected to the final reduction gear train and differential. By May 2007 Toyota had sold one million hybrids worldwide; as of September 2014, more than 7 million Lexus and Toyota hybrids had been sold worldwide. The United States accounted for 38% of TMC global hybrid sales as of March 2013. Toyota's HSD system replaces a normal geared transmission with an electromechanical system. An internal combustion engine delivers power most efficiently over a small speed range, but the wheels need to be driven over the vehicle's full speed range. In a conventional automobile the geared transmission delivers different discrete engine speed-torque power requirements to the wheels.
Geared transmissions may be manual, with a clutch, or automatic, with a torque converter, but both allow the engine and the wheels to rotate at different speeds. The driver can adjust the speed and torque delivered by the engine with the accelerator and the transmission mechanically transmits nearly all of the available power to the wheels which rotate at a different rate than the engine, by a factor equal to the gear ratio for the selected gear. However, there are a limited number of "gears" or gear ratios that the driver can choose from four to six; this limited gear-ratio set forces the engine crankshaft to rotate at speeds where the ICE is less efficient, i.e. where a liter of fuel produces fewer joules. Optimal engine speed-torque requirements for different vehicle driving and acceleration conditions can be gauged by limiting either tachometer RPM rate or engine noise in comparison with actual speed; when an engine is required to operate efficiently across a broad RPM range, due to its coupling to a geared transmission, manufacturers are limited in their options for improving engine efficiency, reliability, or lifespan, as well as reducing the size or weight of the engine.
This is why the engine for an engine-generator is much smaller, more efficient, more reliable, longer life than one designed for an automobile or other variable speed application. However, a continuously variable transmission allows the driver to select the optimal gear ratio required for any desired speed or power; the transmission is not limited to a fixed set of gears. This lack of constraint frees the engine to operate at its optimal speed; the most efficient speed for an ICE is around 1500–2000 RPM for the typical power required to propel an automobile. An HSD vehicle will run the engine at its optimal efficiency speed whenever power is needed to charge batteries or accelerate the car, shutting down the engine when less power is required. Like a CVT, an HSD transmission continuously adjusts the effective gear ratio between the engine and the wheels to maintain the engine speed while the wheels increase their rotational speed during acceleration; this is why Toyota describes HSD-equipped vehicles as having an e-CVT when required to classify the transmission type for standards specification lists or regulatory purposes.
In a conventional car design the separately-excited alternator with integral rectifier and starter are considered accessories that are attached to the internal combustion engine which drives a transmission to power the wheels propelling the vehicle. A battery is used only to start the car's internal combustion engine and run accessories when the engine is not running; the alternator is used to run the accessories when the engine is running. The HSD system replaces the geared transmission and starter motor with: MG1, an AC motor-generator having a permanent magnet rotor, used as a motor when starting the ICE and as a generator when chargin
A motorboat, speedboat, or powerboat is a boat, powered by an engine. Some motorboats are fitted with inboard engines, others have an outboard motor installed on the rear, containing the internal combustion engine, the gearbox and the propeller in one portable unit. An inboard-outboard contains a hybrid of an inboard and an outboard, where the internal combustion engine is installed inside the boat, the gearbox and propeller are outside. There are two configurations of an V-drive and direct drive. A direct drive has the powerplant mounted near the middle of the boat with the propeller shaft straight out the back, where a V-drive has the powerplant mounted in the back of the boat facing backwards having the shaft go towards the front of the boat making a V towards the rear; the V-drive has become popular due to wakeboarding and wakesurfing. Although the screw propeller had been added to an engine as early as the 18th century in Birmingham, England, by James Watt, boats powered by a petrol engine only came about in the part of the 19th century with the invention of the internal combustion engine.
The earliest boat to be powered by a petrol engine was tested on the Neckar River by Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach in 1886, when they tested their new "longcase clock" engine. It had been constructed in the former greenhouse in Daimler's back yard; the first public display took place on the Waldsee in Cannstatt, today a suburb of Stuttgart, at the end of that year. The engine of this boat had a single cylinder of 1 horse power. Daimler's second launch in 1887 had a second cylinder positioned at an angle of 15 degrees to the first one, was known as the "V-type"; the first successful motor boat was designed by the Priestman Brothers in Hull, under the direction of William Dent Priestman. The company began trials of their first motorboat in 1888; the engine was used an innovative high-tension ignition system. The company was the first to begin large scale production of the motor boat, by 1890, Priestman's boats were being used for towing goods along canals. Another early pioneer was Mr. J. D. Roots, who in 1891 fitted a launch with an internal combustion engine and operated a ferry service between Richmond and Wandsworth along the River Thames during the seasons of 1891 and 1892.
The eminent inventor Frederick William Lanchester recognized the potential of the motorboat and over the following 15 years, in collaboration with his brother George, perfected the modern motorboat, or powerboat. Working in the garden of their home in Olton, they designed and built a river flat-bottomed launch with an advanced high-revving engine that drove via a stern paddle wheel in 1893. In 1897, he produced a second engine similar in design to his previous one but running on benzene at 800 r.p.m. The engine drove a reversible propeller. An important part of his new engine was the revolutionary carburettor, for mixing the fuel and air correctly, his invention was known as a "wick carburetor", because fuel was drawn into a series of wicks, from where it was vaporized. He patented this invention in 1905; the Daimler Company began production of motor boats in 1897 from its manufacturing base in Coventry. The engines had two cylinders and the explosive charge of petroleum and air was ignited by compression into a heated platinum tube.
The engine gave about six horse-power. The petrol was fed by air pressure to a large surface carburettor and an auxiliary tank which supplied the burners for heating the ignition tubes. Reversal of the propeller was effected by means of two bevel friction wheels which engaged with two larger bevel friction wheels, the intermediate shaft being temporarily disconnected for this purpose, it was not until 1901 that a safer apparatus for igniting the fuel with an electric spark was used in motor boats. Interest in fast motorboats grew in the early years of the 20th century; the Marine Motor Association was formed in 1903 as an offshoot of the Royal Automobile Club. Motor Boat & Yachting was the first magazine to address technical developments in the field and was brought out by Temple Press, London from 1904. Large manufacturing companies, including Napier & Son and Thornycroft began producing motorboats; the first motorboating competition was established by Alfred Charles William Harmsworth in 1903.
The Harmsworth Cup was envisioned as a contest between nations, rather than between boats or individuals. The boats were to be designed and built by residents of the country represented, using materials and units built wholly within that country; the first competition, held in July 1903, at Cork Harbour in Ireland, officiated by the Automobile Club of Great Britain and Ireland and the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, was a primitive affair, with many boats failing to start. The competition was won by Dorothy Levitt in a Napier launch designed to the specifications of Selwyn Edge; this motorboat was the first proper motorboat designed for high speed. She set the world's first water speed record when she achieved 19.3 mph in a 40-foot steel-hulled, 75-horsepower Napier speedboat fitted with a three-blade propeller. As both the owner and entrant of the boat, "S. F. Edge" was engraved on the trophy as the winner. An article in the Cork Constitution on 13 July reported "A large number of spectators viewed the first mile from the promenade of the Yacht Club, at Cork several thousand people collected at both sides of the river to see the finishes."
Levitt was commanded to the Royal yacht of King Edward VII where he congratulated her on her pluck and skill, they discussed the performance of the motorboat and its potential for British government despatch work. France
Mazda Motor Corporation referred to as Mazda, is a Japanese multinational automaker based in Fuchū, Aki District, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan. In 2015, Mazda produced 1.5 million vehicles for global sales, the majority of which were produced in the company's Japanese plants, with the remainder coming from a variety of other plants worldwide. In 2015, Mazda was the fifteenth biggest automaker by production worldwide; the name Mazda came into existence with the production of the company's first three-wheeled trucks. Other candidates for a model name included Tenshi-Go and more; the company states that The name was associated with Ahura Mazda, with the hope that it would brighten the image of these compact vehicles. The company website further notes that the name derives from the name of the company's founder, Jujiro Matsuda; the other proposed names mean "god" and "angel". The Mazda lettering was used in combination with the corporate emblem of Mitsubishi, responsible for sales, to produce the Toyo Kogyo three-wheeled truck registered trademark.
Mazda began as the Toyo Cork Kogyo Co. Ltd, founded in Hiroshima, Japan, 30 January 1920. Toyo Cork Kogyo renamed itself to Toyo Kogyo Co. Ltd. in 1927. In the late 1920s the company had to be saved from bankruptcy by Hiroshima Saving Bank and other business leaders in Hiroshima. In 1931 Toyo Kogyo moved from manufacturing machine tools to vehicles with the introduction of the Mazda-Go autorickshaw. Toyo Kogyo produced weapons for the Japanese military throughout the Second World War, most notably the series 30 through 35 Type 99 rifle; the company formally adopted the Mazda name in 1984, though every automobile sold from the beginning bore that name. The Mazda R360 was introduced in 1960, followed by the Mazda Carol in 1962. Beginning in the 1960s, Mazda was inspired by the NSU Ro 80 and decided to put a major engineering effort into development of the Wankel rotary engine as a way of differentiating itself from other Japanese auto companies; the company formed a business relationship with German company NSU and began with the limited-production Cosmo Sport of 1967, continuing to the present day with the Pro Mazda Championship, Mazda has become the sole manufacturer of Wankel-type engines for the automotive market by way of attrition This effort to bring attention to itself helped, as Mazda began to export its vehicles.
Both piston-powered and rotary-powered models made their way around the world. The rotary models became popular for their combination of good power and light weight when compared to piston-engined competitors that required heavier V6 or V8 engines to produce the same power; the R100 and the RX series led the company's export efforts. During 1968, Mazda started formal operations in Canada although Mazdas were seen in Canada as early as 1959. In 1970, Mazda formally entered the American market and was successful there, going so far as to create the Mazda Rotary Pickup for North American buyers. To this day, Mazda remains the only automaker to have produced a Wankel-powered pickup truck. Additionally, it is the only marque to have offered a rotary-powered bus or station wagon. After nine years of development, Mazda launched its new model in the U. S. in 1970. Mazda's rotary success continued until the onset of the 1973 oil crisis; as American buyers turned to vehicles with better fuel efficiency, the thirsty rotary-powered models began to fall out of favor.
Combined with being the least-efficient automaker in Japan, inability to adjust to excess inventory and over-reliance on the U. S. market, the company suffered a huge loss in 1975. An heavily indebted Toyo Kogyo was on the verge of bankruptcy and was only saved through the intervention of Sumitomo keiretsu group, namely Sumitomo Bank, the companies subcontractors and distributors. However, the company had not turned its back on piston engines, as it continued to produce a variety of four-cylinder models throughout the 1970s; the smaller Familia line in particular became important to Mazda's worldwide sales after 1973, as did the somewhat larger Capella series. Mazda refocused its efforts and made the rotary engine a choice for the sporting motorist rather than a mainstream powerplant. Starting with the lightweight RX-7 in 1978 and continuing with the modern RX-8, Mazda has continued its dedication to this unique powerplant; this switch in focus resulted in the development of another lightweight sports car, the piston-powered Mazda MX-5 Miata, inspired by the concept'jinba ittai'.
Introduced in 1989 to worldwide acclaim, the Roadster has been credited with reviving the concept of the small sports car after its decline in the late 1970s. From 1974 to 2015, Mazda had a partnership with the Ford Motor Company, which acquired a 24.5% stake in 1979, upped to a 33.4% ownership of Mazda in May 1995. Under the administration of Alan Mulally, Ford divested its stake in Mazda from 2008 to 2015, with Ford holding 2.1% of Mazda stock as of 2014 and severing most production as well as development ties. This partnership with Ford began owing to Mazda's financial diff
World Sportscar Championship
The World Sportscar Championship was the world series run for sports car racing by the FIA from 1953 to 1992. The championship evolved from a small collection of the most important sportscar and road racing events in Europe and North America with dozens of gentleman drivers at the grid, to a professional racing series where the world's largest automakers spent millions of dollars per year; the official name of the series changed throughout the years, however it has been known as the World Sportscar Championship from its inception in 1953. The World Sportscar Championship was, with the Formula One World Championship, one of the two major world championships in circuit motor racing. In 2012 the World Sportscar Championship was revived and renamed as the World Endurance Championship. Among others, the following races counted towards the championships in certain years: 24 Hours of Le Mans 1953– Mille Miglia 1953–1957 1000 km Nürburgring 1953– RAC Tourist Trophy 1953–1964 12 Hours of Sebring 1953– Carrera Panamericana 1953–1954 Targa Florio 1955–1973 1000 km Monza 1963– 1000 km Spa 1963– 12 Hours of Reims 1964–1965 24 Hours of Daytona 1966–1981 1000 km Buenos Aires 1954–1972 1000 km Zeltweg 1966–1976 1000 km Fuji 1983–1988 Norisring 200 Miles 1984–1988 Watkins Glen 6 Hours 1968-1971,1973-1980 In the early years, now legendary races such as the Mille Miglia, Carrera Panamericana and Targa Florio were part of the calendar, alongside the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 12 Hours of Sebring, the Tourist Trophy and Nurburgring 1000 km.
Manufacturers such as Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Aston Martin fielded entries featuring professional racing drivers with experience in Formula One, but the majority of the fields were made up of gentleman drivers in the likes of Nardis and Bandinis. Cars were split into Sports Car and GT categories and were further divided into engine displacement classes; the Ferrari and Maserati works teams were fierce competitors throughout much of the decade, but although Maserati cars won many races the make never managed to clinch the World title. The Mercedes-Benz work team pulled out of the championship after 1955 due to their crash at Le Mans, while the small Aston Martin factory team struggled to find success in 1957 and 1958 until it managed to win the championship in 1959. Notably absent from the overall results were the Jaguar works team, who did not enter any events other than Le Mans, despite the potential of the C- and D-Types. In 1962, the calendar was expanded to include smaller races, while the FIA shifted the focus to production based GT cars.
The World Sportscar Championship title was discontinued, being replaced by the International Championship for GT Manufacturers. They group cars into three categories with specific engine sizes. Hillclimbs, sprint races and smaller races expanded the championship, which now had about 15 races per season; the famous races like Le Mans still counted towards the prototype championship, the points valuation wasn't tabular so the FIA returned to the original form of the championship with about 6 to 10 races. For 1963 the three engine capacity classes remained. For 1965 the engine classes became for cars under 1300 cc, under 2000 cc, over 2000 cc. Class III was designed to attract more American manufacturers, with no upper limit on engine displacement; the period between 1966 and 1971 was the most successful era of the World Championship, with S and P classes, cars such as the Ferrari 512S, Ferrari 330 P4, Ford GT40, Lola T70, Alfa Romeo 33, Porsche's 908 and the 917 battled for supremacy on classic circuits such as Sebring, Nürburgring, Spa-Francorchamps, Targa Florio, Le Mans, in what is now considered the Golden Age of sports car racing.
In 1972 the Group 6 Prototype and Group 5 Sports Car classes were both replaced by a new Group 5 Sports Car class. These cars were limited to 3.0 L engines by the FIA, manufacturers lost interest. The new Group 5 Sports Cars, together with Group 4 Grand Touring Cars, would contest the FIA's newly renamed World Championship for Makes from 1972 to 1975. From 1976 to 1981 the World Championship for Makes was open to Group 5 Special Production Cars and other production based categories including Group 4 Grand Touring cars and it was during this period that the nearly-invincible Porsche 935 dominated the championship. Prototypes returned in 1976 as Group 6 cars with their own series, the World Championship for Sports Cars, but this was to last only for two seasons. In 1981, the FIA instituted a drivers championship. In 1982, the FIA attempted to counter a worrying climb in engine output of the Group 5 Special Production Cars by introducing Group C, a new category for closed sports-prototypes that limited fuel consumption.
While this change was unwelcome amongst some of the private teams, manufacturer support for the new regulations was immense. Several of the'old guard' manufacturers returned to the WSC within the next two years, with each marque adding to the diversity of the series. Under the new rules, it was theoretically possible for aspirated engines to compete with the forced induction engines that had dominated the series in the'70s and early'80s. In addition, most races ran for either 500 or 1000 km going over three and six hours so it was possible to emphasize the "endurance" aspect of the competition as well. Group B cars, a GT class, were allowed to race, but entries in thi