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Type Division
Industry Automotive
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Products Automobiles
Parent Mazda
Autozam sign Mazdaautozam sign1.jpg
Autozam sign

Autozam (オートザム, Ōtozamu) was a marque of Japanese automaker Mazda, specializing in small cars and Kei cars, many of which were rebadged Suzuki models. Autozam also briefly acted as importer of Lancia vehicles to Japan.


The Autozam dealership channel is still in operation in some Japanese locations, but sell all current Mazda products.


In the late 1980s, Mazda began expansion of dealerships in Japan. The idea was to create "a familiar car shop in your city" (あなたの街の身近なカーショップ; Anata no machi no midjikana kāshoppu) and network of dealerships, centred around small and medium-sized maintenance shops and used car dealers. In part of this brand strategy, Mazda launched of three new marques. The company created Autozam, Eunos, and ɛ̃fini, in addition to the Mazda and Ford brands already marketed there.

Autozam's lineup - at the time of establishment - was centered on small cars (i.e Kei cars and compacts). Autozam's first flagship model was the Autozam Clef, a sedan of (Mazda Cronos) lineage.

In addition, Mazda acquired the official import rights of Lancia for the purpose of supplementing the luxury car lineup. [1] Lancia and Autobianchi brand passenger cars manufactured by the Italian Fiat Auto, such as the Lancia Thema, Lancia Delta and Autobianchi Y10, were also on sale.

The nationwide sales network was controlled by "Autozam Co., Ltd." and a regional wholesale company (Autozam Co., Ltd.).

Autozam's first sales hit was the second-generation Carol, which became popular with young female buyers, partly due to targeted advertising. The Revue and Clef models ended up redesigned to follow the character of the much successful Carol. However, the sales of Revue and Clef ended up being disastrously sluggish, as they were completely unpopular except for a few young female users.

Some of the light sports cars, such as Autozam AZ-1 and the small specialty car Autozam AZ-3 were also critically and publicly applauded, but did not translate to good sales.[ citation needed ] For short time, Autozam imported Lancia cars to Japan as a high-margin luxury car line. Lancia sales too were disappointing, as Japanese import buyers did not like buying their cars from showrooms sharing space with the cheerful and cute Autozam Carol.

As a result, there was no Autozam product that was profitable except for the second generation Carol. Even the future Carol models were not as popular as the 2nd generation because it became a half-finished retro-feature concept with a slightly regressed fancy flavor when it was fully remodelled in the 3rd generation. [ citation needed ]

Among the Mazda 5 channel dealers, where the core model Cronos ended in a big failure, only the éfini RX-7 was really popular. The sales of the best-selling Ford Festiva plummeted after the full model change, as with Autozam Carol. Autozam had become seriously unprofitable, even more so than the Eunos store, which only product was the Eunos Roadster. This caused the management of the Mazda headquarters was severely distressed.

Transition to "Mazda Autozam store"

Of the marquees created by Mazda - the so called 5-channel system - Autozam name was one of the few that survived. But in 1998, certain standards were set for the dealership size and sales of Autozam stores nationwide.

The dealerships were changed to "Mazda Autozam store" and started selling the products under the parent company Mazda name. At first, these dealerships mainly sold the Mazda Familia Bongo Premacy. In addition, the Mazda-Autozam dealerships started OEM sales of Suzuki automobiles.

During the channel reorganization period, the Autozam store, which could not be transferred to the Mazda Autozam store, handled only light cars and Demio with the sign as it was, but as new models, AZ-Offroad and Laputa are sold together with the Mazda Autozam store.

After these two cars, new models were no longer introduced to the "Autozam store", and in order to handle the new models after that, it was necessary to move to the Mazda Autozam store.

Stores that did not meet the standards returned their dealership rights without being given the right to sell new models. As a result, by the early 2000s, about 900 Autozam stores had changed to 350 Mazda Autozam stores. [2]

In addition, Lancia's regular import rights were returned by 1998. In 2001, Autozam Co., Ltd. and a regional wholesale company merged to form "Mazda Autozam Co., Ltd.", and one company nationwide controlled the sales network.

After that, we started handling Axela in 2003 and MPV, Tribute, Bongo Friendee in March 2004. Other Mazda channels (Mazda store, Mazda éfini store) are now handling Carol Spiano, AZ-Wagon, and Scrum, which were exclusive to Autozam, and the differentiation from other sales channels has disappeared.

From April 2016, we will start handling Atenza, Roadster, Familia Van, and Titan, which are the top models of Mazda vehicles that have not been sold so far. [3] As a result, although the name of the Mazda Autozam store remains, it has become a de facto unification of domestic sales channels. As a result, "Mazda Autozam Co., Ltd." has suspended its operations, and Mazda itself and the Mazda éfini and Mazda stores in each region will supervise and manage the nationwide sales network.[ citation needed ]

Autozam models

The following vehicles were part of the Autozam brand. Those that were rebadged versions are noted in parentheses.

The Mazda AZ-Wagon continued to use the "AZ" name until 2003, while the Mazda AZ-Offroad mini SUV (a rebadged Suzuki Jimny) was introduced in 1998, continuing to carry on Autozam's naming conventions.

Lancia imports

Autozam locations also briefly sold Lancia products to Japanese buyers. The vehicles sold are listed below. Of the Lancia products sold, only the top level Thema didn't comply with Japanese Government exterior and engine displacement regulations to encourage sales, giving Japanese buyers who visited Autozam locations an alternative to the Autozam Clef, which also exceeded width dimensions.

Lancia models

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was a luxury vehicle division of Japanese automaker Mazda that operated between 1991 and 1997 in Japan only. Its inception as a brand emerged in the late 1980s when Mazda diversified its sales channels in the Japanese market with the launch of three new marques. The company created Autozam, Eunos, and, in addition to the Mazda and Ford brands already marketed there. This selective marketing experiment ended in the mid-1990s due to economic conditions, largely attributed to the collapse of the Japanese asset price bubble in 1991. As a brand, encompassed most, if not all dealers formerly under Mazda's "Auto" dealer chain. Pronounced like the French word infini, the name is written with a tilde over the lowercase Greek ε, and can therefore be assumed to be IPA, the pronunciation symbols taught in Japan, and sometimes used in product naming.

ɛ̃fini MS-8

The MS-8 is a luxury car that was produced and sold by from March, 1992 through 1997. The car is a replacement to the Mazda Persona and Eunos 300. Just like the Persona is based on the 1987-1991 Mazda Capella, the MS-8 is based on the 1991-1997 Mazda Cronos. The MS-8 had the same dimensions as the Cronos, and the ɛ̃fini MS-6, sharing the 2.5 L V6 engine. The width, length, and engine displacement dimensions have particular significance in Japan, due to dimension regulations, where Japanese consumers pay an additional annual tax for larger vehicles, and obligate them to pay more annual road tax.

Autozam Scrum

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Amati was a proposed luxury brand announced by Mazda in August 1991 as part of Mazda's expansion plan with the launch of the Autozam, Eunos, and ɛ̃fini marques in hopes of becoming Japan's 3rd largest automaker. It was scheduled to launch in 1994 with the initial range of the Amati 300, a compact executive car equivalent to the Infiniti G20 or the Acura Integra; the Amati 500, an executive car equivalent to the Lexus ES or the Acura Vigor; the Amati 1000, a full-size luxury car equivalent to the Lexus LS400, Acura Legend and the Infiniti Q45, and possibly a full size coupe based on the Eunos Cosmo that would have been equivalent to the Lexus SC400. Mazda invested at least 50 billion yen into the project and had completed development of at least two of the cars, created marketing materials, set up dealers and tooled up an advanced factory in Hofu to produce the cars. However, when the Japanese economy collapsed in early 1992 Mazda faced a liquidity shortage and was unable to complete development of the brand. Mazda announced the cancellation of the Amati brand in October 1992 and the completed vehicles were sold under Mazda's existing brand names.


  1. Import rights are owned by Mazda. At the same time, Garage Italya also imported and sold through its own sales network.
  2. Although Autozam's dealership has been returned, some stores continue to handle Mazda vehicles as distributors of local Mazda stores.