Other nameplates for the Familia included Mazda 800, 1000, 1200, and 1300, as well as later the 323. In North America, nameplates included GLC, 323, and Protegé. In South Africa, it was marketed as the Étude. In Colombia the 8th generation was called Allegro.
The Familia was also rebranded as the Ford Laser and Meteor in Asia, Australasia some Latin American countries and (from 1991) as the Ford Escort and Mercury Tracer in North America.
Familias were manufactured in Hiroshima, Japan as well as Taiwan, Malaysia, South Africa, Colombia, and New Zealand.
The Familia line was replaced by the Mazda Axela in 2004.
First generation (1963–1968)
Mazda's automotive plans for the early sixties consisted of growing alongside the Japanese economy. To achieve this goal, they began by building an extremely cheap Kei car, the R360 in 1960, planning on introducing gradually larger and pricier cars as the Japanese customers became able to afford them. As a preview, testing the waters, a larger "Mazda 700" prototype was shown at the 8th Tokyo Motor Show in 1961, and formed the basis for the upcoming Mazda Familia. Meanwhile, the slightly more upmarket Mazda Carol appeared in 1962.
The first production Familia, styled by young Giorgetto Giugiaro while working at Carrozzeria Bertone, appeared in October 1963. In line with Mazda's policy of only gradually approaching the production of private cars (a luxury in Japan at the time), the first Familia was initially only available as a commercial two-door wagon called the Familia Van. The van was joined in April 1964 by a plusher Familia Wagon, in October by a 4-door sedan, and in November by a two-door sedan. The "Flat Deck" design of the sedan versions was reportedly inspired by the Chevrolet Corvair. Private car versions received foglights in the grille as well as more chrome trim. The Familia was sold in other markets as the 800.
The cars used a 782 cc, "SA" four-stroke aluminum inline-four engine, also known as the "White Engine". There was also a pickup version available from November 1964.
An all new Familia 1000 Coupé arrived in November 1965, with a 985 cc SOHC "PC" engine. Around the same time, the 800 engine was upgraded, adding three extra horsepower. As a number of new 1 liter vehicles were introduced by Mazda's competitors, another 987 cc OHV engine (PB) appeared in January 1967, powering new 1000 Sedan and Van versions.The 1 liter sedans and vans are recognizable by their broader, rounded-off rectangular headlights. Production of the sedan continued until November 1967, while the Van versions continued until they were replaced in February 1968. Around 400,000 of the first Familia were built, 130,473 of which were sedans and coupés.Around 10,000 of the first generation Familia were exported, mainly to Australia and Oceania.
Primary sources below are listed at the head of each column, information sourced elsewhere is referenced directly in the relevant cells. Data is for models as marketed in the Japanese domestic market.
Second generation (1967–1977)
The new Familia appeared in 1967 with the same pushrod 987 cc engine as used in the previous generation sedans. It was sold as the Mazda 1000 in some markets. A larger 1,169 cc I4 engined version came along later, becoming the Mazda 1200 for export. In this form, the car was first exhibited in Europe at the 1968 Paris Motor Show in the Autumn/Fall of that year.
From 1970 on the Familia was also available with the new overhead camshaft 1.3 L TC engine, derived from the smaller 1 liter OHC engine already seen in the first generation Familia Coupé. This, exported as the Mazda 1300, replaced the 1200 model in most markets. The sedan and coupé were updated in the autumn of 1973, but the truck and wagon/van versions continued with little change. The vans and pickup trucks actually soldiered on until 1978, by which time a Van/Wagon version of the succeeding FA4 Familia (323/GLC) had been introduced. The later pickup versions were also available in a long-wheelbase version, and featured a 85 PS (63 kW) (SAE) version of the 1.3-litre TC engine, unaffected by the tighter Japanese emissions standards for passenger cars.
Engines (export power outputs):
- 1968–1973 – 1.0 L (987 cc) PB I4, 50 hp (37 kW; 51 PS) / 56 ft·lb (76 N·m)
- 1968–1970 – 1.2 L (1,169 cc) TB I4, 58 hp (43 kW; 59 PS) / 94 ft·lb (127 N·m)
- 1970–1973 – 1.3 L (1,272 cc) TC I4, 2 barrel, 69 hp (51 kW; 70 PS) / 67 ft·lb (91 N·m)
The "1200" was offered in the United States in 1971 and again for the 1973 model year. The 1971 version was the first piston-powered Familia sold in the United States and arrived alongside its rotary R100 counterpart in two- and four-door forms. It was replaced by the somewhat larger 808 (Grand Familia) the next year. The 1200 model returned for 1973 as the base-model economy Mazda. The company then focused on performance for the next two years, dropping the economy car. After the gas crisis they returned to the economy sector with the Mizer in 1976, a rebadged 808.
- 1971, 1973 – 1.2 L (1,169 cc) I4, 58 hp (43 kW; 59 PS) / 69 ft·lb (94 N·m)
In 1968 Mazda added a Familia Rotary model to the range, offered in both two-door coupé and four-door sedan variants. The Familia Rotary was powered by a 2 x 491 cc 10A Rotary engine and the coupé version was sold outside of Japan as the Mazda R100.Production ended in 1973.
The September 1973 Familia Presto (FA3) was an updated version of the second generation Mazda Familia, with somewhat wider bodywork and reworked front and rear designs. These changes were made only to the sedans and coupé, with the van/wagon and trucks retaining the original bodywork. Developed to meet new stricter emissions standards in the domestic market, the Presto featured the 1,272 cc TC engine or the by now familiar pushrod 1 liter PB unit. Power outputs in Japan (gross) were 83 PS (61 kW) and 62 PS (46 kW) respectively. The Rotary Coupé was discontinued, having been replaced by the larger Grand Familia-based RX-3/Savanna.
Production of the second generation Familia ended in January 1977, but not before another minor facelift and emissions scrubbing had taken place in February 1976. After this change, only the larger engine was available, now with 72 PS and labelled Familia Presto 1300AP (for "Anti Pollution").
- Kia Brisa
From October 1974 until 1981, Kia Motors manufactured a variant of the second generation Familia as the Kia Brisa at their first integrated automobile manufacturing facility, the Sohari Plant in Gwangmyeong, South Korea. Production originally commenced in 1973 in the form of the Brisa B-1000 pickup truck, but passenger car production (originally as the "Brisa S-1000") only commenced later.Brisa comes from the Portuguese word for "breeze". Originally equipped with a 62 PS (46 kW) 1 litre Mazda engine, the bigger 1.3-litre version with 72 PS (53 kW) arrived in October 1975 as a response to Hyundai's successful Pony.A station wagon model was added in 1978. Production came to an end after the new military dictator Chun Doo-hwan enforced industry consolidation, meaning Kia had to give up passenger cars and focus entirely on light trucks.
A facelifted version of the Brisa received a slightly different front end from the original Familia, featuring twin headlights. In total, 31,017 Brisa passenger cars were built. Including the pickups increases the totals to 75,987, of which a total of 1,526 were exported. Exports, Kia's first, began with a shipment of 31 Brisa B-1000 pickups to Qatar in 1975. The larger Grand Familia/818 was also built by Kia with the 1,272 cc engine, originally as the Brisa II and later as the K303.
Third generation (1977–1980)
The Familia AP (323 in most of the world, GLC or Great Little Car in North America) debuted in January 1977 as a rear-wheel-drive subcompact, replacing both the Grand Familia (818) and the preceding Familia (1000/1300). There was a choice of hatchbacks and station wagon bodies, both available with a 3- or 5-door bodystyle. The Station Wagon/Van version was a bit later, first being introduced in June 1978, which also meant that the commercial versions based on the 1970 Familia could finally be retired. Three Mazda engines were available, the 985 cc PC, 1,272 cc TC, or 1,415 cc UC. It shared many parts with the older Mazda Grand Familia. This was the first appearance of the 323 name, for export markets only.
In June 1979 the 323/Familia underwent a facelift, replacing the previous round headlights with rectangular units which were designed as a single unit along with the grille. Other minor differences occurred along with the facelift. In South Africa a 1,600 cc model was available – however this model did not have a Mazda engine, unlike the rest of the range. To satisfy that country's local content regulations, a Mitsubishi Saturn 1.6-litre unit was used.
The range was replaced in 1980, however the station wagon models continued in production until 1986. In 1981 a facelift was given to the wagon range, to give a front end treatment similar to Mazda's front-wheel drive 323/Familia range.
It was available in several body variants:
- Five-door four-seat hatch.
- Three-door four-seat hatch.
- Five-door four-seat station wagon.
- Three-door four-seat station wagon.
- Three-door two-seat van with an extended roof profile.
Several of these were available in several trim levels.
- 1.0 L PC, 45 PS (33 kW; 44 hp) / 51 ft·lb (69 N·m) – export only
- 1.3 L TC (1977.01–1978) 60 PS (44 kW; 59 hp) / 72 PS (53 kW) in Japan
- 1.4 L UC (1978.03–1980) 83 PS (61 kW) in Japan
A five-speed manual gearbox was introduced later as an alternative to the original four-speed manual gearbox. At the same time the original 7-inch (178 mm) round sealed beam headlights were replaced with square sealed beam units on all models except the van, together with a general styling and mechanical upgrade. A three-speed automatic gearbox was also available throughout the model run.
When the next generation front-wheel-drive Familia/323/GLC models were released in 1980, the wagon and van models continued unchanged, due to Mazda not developing wagon models for the newer range. A facelift however was given to the wagons in 1981, which gave the models the front clip (albeit with different bumpers) of the front-wheel-drive models. Production of the wagons continued to 1986, when a new front-wheel-drive model was introduced.
For the United States, the GLC, advertised as the Great Little Car, was only offered with one engine at a time. The new GLC overlapped with the old-style Mizer for part of 1977 and was produced through 1980 before being replaced by the next-generation GLC. The marketing campaign in the U.S. had the words "Great Little Car" set to the tune of Spanish Flea.
In Indonesia the Familia was marketed by IndoMobil Group as the Mazda MR90 (hatchback) between 1990 and 1992, Baby Boomers (hatchback) between 1993 and 1995, and as the Vantrend (station wagon) between 1993 and 1997. The versions built by Mazda Motor Indonesia used the larger Mazda 626's "GC" platform, and later versions had modernized headlights (same as on the North American market GC 626) and bumpers. Only the UC 1.4-litre engine was offered, in combination with a five-speed transmission.
Fourth generation (BD; 1980–1984)The BD Familia, first shown on 2 June 1980, was entirely new – it was Mazda's first front-engine, front-wheel drive subcompact car. It was available as a hatchback and sedan. It was developed with input from Ford, which in 1979 had acquired a stake in the Japanese manufacturer, and had a twin called the Ford Laser (and Ford Meteor, for its four-door model in Australia). The all new Mazda E engine-series was developed expressly for the BD and was offered in three different displacements. The smallest 1.1-liter E1 unit was reserved for certain export markets where the tax structures suited it. Chassis codes were BD1011/BD1031/BD1051 depending on the engine installed.
- 1.1 L (1,100 cc) E1, 1 barrel, 55 hp (41 kW; 56 PS) / 58 ft·lb (79 N·m)
- 1.3 L (1,300 cc) E3, 2 barrel, 68 hp (51 kW; 69 PS) / 70 ft·lb (95 N·m)
- 1.5 L (1,500 cc) E5, 2 barrel, 75 hp (56 kW; 76 PS) / 85 ft·lb (115 N·m)
- 1.5 L (1,500 cc) E5S, 2x2 barrel, 85 hp (63 kW; 86 PS) / 88 ft·lb (119 N·m)
For the Japanese market two other top end models were offered, the 2-door Familia XGI with a 1,500 cc single cam, multi-point fuel-injected engine and an XGI Turbo R with a turbo added. Its twin the Ford Laser S were also offered with the same specifications but in limited numbers.
This particular Familia was a strong comeback for Mazda in the Japanese market, even outselling the Toyota Corolla on several occasions.
The 1980 Familia/323 was the first front-engine, front-wheel-drive vehicle from Mazda since the R130. This generation of 323 was Wheels magazine's Car of the Year for 1980. A station wagon version, which was simply a facelifted version of the previous rear-drive model (with square headlights), was sold in parallel with the BD. The wagon was available with either three or five doors and was equipped either with the old 1,272 cc TC engine or the newly developed 1,490 cc E5 engine, producing 60 PS (44 kW) and 70 PS (51 kW) respectively.
The equivalent American GLC appeared in 1981. It was only offered with a single engine (the 2 barrel 1.5 L) and lasted through 1985, after which it was replaced by the next-generation Mazda 323 and the GLC nameplate was retired. It was the only front-wheel drive Mazda vehicle using the GLC name.
Fifth generation (BF; 1985–1989)
The 1985 (January) Familia featured many updates. It was available as a hatchback or sedan only for the first year, a wagon being added in November 1985. In January 1987 a personal coupé version with its own bodywork, the Étude, was added. In February 1987 the Familia range underwent a light facelift that included replacing the old E engines with the more modern B series.
The 1985 Familia spawned a Ford Laser twin sold in the Asia-Pacific. The Laser sedan and wagon were nearly identical to the Familia but with a Ford grille. By contrast the Laser hatchback model, which was sold in the U.S. as the Mercury Tracer used completely different panels from the Familia's.
This generation of the Familia/323 was also available in a version with a turbocharged DOHC engine, with either front- or four-wheel drive. The 4WD version, introduced in October 1985, saw some success in rally's Group A category. Regular GTX's (GT-X in Japan) produced 140 PS (103 kW). A limited production homologation special, the GT-Ae, appeared in May 1988 and offered an additional ten horsepower. There was also a 1.7-litre diesel version available with 58 PS (43 kW) at 4,300 rpm and 112 N·m (83 ft·lb) at 2,800 rpm. It is an indirect injection engine, naturally aspirated.
This generation was sold through the 1989 model year in the United States. The wagon continued alongside the succeeding generation in most markets until 1994/95, later updated with a new grille and lights.
The model remained in production in South Africa, as an entry-level model, also being sold as the Ford Tonic until 2003. A locally designed pick-up based on the Familia front end, called the Rustler was also produced, and sold as the Ford Bantam. From 1991 to 1994 Samcor also produced and sold the 323 with the 2.0 L 16-valve DOHC FE engine from the Mazda 626 and badged it 200i. Along with the 2.0 L 16-valve DOHC engine there were upgrades to the suspension and braking system. Still, the 1.6-litre GT-Ae homologation car was more powerful.
In 1991, the South African-made model was exported to the United Kingdom as the Sao Penza and fitted with a 1.3 L fuel-injected engine. This South African built model was also sold in Australia between 1989 and 1991 with minor changes, the most noticeable one being the front indicators having a clear color rather than the normal amber. These models where labeled BF as opposed to the next generation's BG.
A factory-built convertible body was introduced in March 1986 in both Mazda 323 and Ford Laser (323 panels from firewall back) versions.
- 1985–1987 – 1.1 L (1,100 cc) E1, 2 barrel, 8-valve, 55 hp (41 kW; 56 PS) / 59 ft·lb (80 N·m)
- 1985–1987 – 1.3 L (1,300 cc) E3, 2 barrel, 8-valve, 68 hp (51 kW; 69 PS) / 71 ft·lb (96 N·m)
- 1987–1989 – 1.3 L (1,300 cc) B3, 2 barrel, 8-valve, 66 PS (49 kW; 65 hp) / 74 ft·lb (100 N·m)
- 1985–1987 – 1.5 L (1,500 cc) E5, 2 barrel or EGi, 8-valve, 85 PS (63 kW)/12.3 kg·m (121 N·m) (JDM EGi)
- 1985–1987 – 1.5 L (1,500 cc) E5T, turbo EGi, 8-valve, 115 PS (85 kW)/16.5 kg·m (162 N·m) (JDM only)
- 1987–1989 – 1.5 L (1,500 cc) B5, 2 barrel, 12-valve, 73 hp (54 kW; 74 PS) / 81 ft·lb (110 N·m)
- 1985–1989 – 1.6 L (1,600 cc) B6, 8-valve, 103 hp (77 kW; 104 PS) / 98 ft·lb (133 N·m)
- 1985–1989 – 1.6 L (1,600 cc) B6T, turbo, 16-valve, 143 hp (107 kW; 145 PS) / 138 ft·lb (187 N·m)
- 1985–1989 – 1.7 L (1,700 cc) PN, Diesel, 8-valve, 57 hp (43 kW; 58 PS) / 107 ft·lb (145 N·m)
- 1991–1994 – 2.0 L (2,000 cc) FE-DOHC, EFi, 16-valve, 146 hp (109 kW; 148 PS) (South Africa only)