VIN numbers were launched for all cars sold in the US – including those made by Mazda – in 1981 so people could have a way to know if there was a problem with a given car and to track down stolen vehicles.
Over the years the VIN system has becoming increasingly complex, making decoding very hard for the average person. You can still do it to a degree – and Research.com would be happy to send you a decoding guide in exchange for your email address.
You can, however, in most cases, do the most important part of the decoding process for a Mazda on your own. If you look at the second digit in the VIN for a Mazda, it should be one of these three letters:
If not, the VIN may not actually belong to a Mazda. But like with other vehicles, not all Mazda cars follow this rule of thumb, so if the VIN number doesn't seem to conform, your best bet is to let us do a quick vehicle history search for you.
Mazda is a company that literally came back from the dead. The company began by making three-wheeled trucks in 1931, and were fairly successful until World War II began and they were required to start producing military weapons.
Their plan was to go back to making vehicles when the war ended. But that had to be put on hold – forever – because their factory was located in Hiroshima and was turned to dust by an American atomic bomb in 1945.
Mazda was not to be deterred, and in 1949 they started making three-wheeled trucks again, at first exporting them to India.
It wasn't until 1960 that Mazda started manufacturing two-door passenger vehicles for the mass market. In 1969, Mazda entered into a partnership with Toyota and Nissan that allowed them to enter the US and international markets.
Mazda today is the 18th biggest seller in the American market, and is known for creating high-end sports cars.
A used Mazda can be a significant investment. Before you decide to purchase one, you might want to run the 17-digit VIN number through the Research.com search system and discover if there are any hidden problems.