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To understand the entry of the Mazda into the public consciousness in the United States, you have to consider the back-story. The American automobile industry was dominated by the Detroit "Big Three" during the post World War II era, and that was a time when people did not care a whole lot about fuel efficiency. The au...tomakers churned out big, comfortable cars and worked on developing ever-increasing performance with the understanding that gasoline costs were negligible and availability was unlimited. This started to change as the 1950s started to wind down, and the American automakers developed compacts like the Corvair and the Falcon as the 1960s began.

Outside of the United States, smaller cars were the norm, so as this shift took hold, more and more imports appeared on the scene. Mazda entered the fray in America in 1970, and they had a lot of success with their innovative rotary engine. The rotary engine could generate a lot of power without the heavy weight that piston engines required, and this struck a chord with the public. Mazda built a rotary engine pickup truck specifically for the North American market and pushed it hard with a strong advertising campaign. Here we are some 40 years later, and Mazda is still a major player in the United States and around the world, having worked out a partnership agreement with Ford in 1979, and that cooperative effort is still in place as of this writing.

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