Mazda’s “Kodo: Soul of Motion” Design Turns 10

Mazda Kodo

Exactly 10 years ago, Mazda stole the limelight at the 2010 Los Angeles International Motor Show with the unveiling of the stunning Shinari concept car, as it was like no other Mazda we’ve seen before.

Mazda Kodo Shinari

It was also the day Mazda’s “Kodo – Soul of Motion” design philosophy began its journey. As much as it feels like it was only yesterday, it has already been 10 years since we set eyes on the Kodo design.   

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Kodo was first unveiled in 2010 with Shinari, Mazda’s stunning four-door sports coupe concept which gave the world vision of an animal ready to pounce, foreshadowing an exciting future for Mazda design.

Mazda Kodo

The following year, Mazda teased the world with another example of Kodo Design with Minagi, a compact crossover SUV concept which later evolved into the award-winning Mazda CX-5

The first Kodo Designs were strongly inspired by the image of a cheetah about to pounce. Mazda designers closely observed how these powerful mammals used their entire body as a spring to convert pent-up energy into highly controlled motion.

Launched in 2012, the Mazda CX-5 was the first production vehicle to embody the Kodo Design, combining go-anywhere muscularity, hold-all functionality and appealing dynamism in equal measure. 

Following closely in the footsteps of the Shinari and Minagi concepts, the Takeri and Hazumi concepts carried the same expression of motion that focused on the strength, beauty and tension found in the instantaneous movement seen in animals.

Mazda Kodo CX-30

The Mazda Takeri offered a new level of strength and allure to the future of Mazda’s saloon styling, while the Hazumi concept (meaning to ‘bound’ or ‘spring up’ in Japanese) used Kodo Design to characterise the personality of a small but vigorous animal bursting with energy for Mazda’s next generation B-segment car. 

A turning point for Kodo Design was reached with the two awe-inspiring concept cars, RX-Vision and Vision Coupe, evoking a powerful and emotional design with as few elements as possible.

Launched in 2019, the latest generation Mazda3, which was inspired by the Kai Concept and was the first vehicle to showcase the latest evolution in the company’s ground-breaking Kodo Design – a more mature rendition targeting greater styling prestige through the elegance and rigor of a minimalist, less-is-more aesthetic inspired by the purest traditions of Japanese art and the beauty of space between objects. 

The most recent addition to Mazda’s current global line-up, the Mazda MX-30, breaks new ground for Kodo Design. Though retaining the beautiful, hand-crafted forms of Mazda’s design philosophy, the styling of the Mazda MX-30 represents an exploration of a more modern aesthetic which focuses on the futuristic values and lifestyles that are beginning to emerge.

Mazda Kodo Mazda3

While other Kodo models focussed on surface reflections, Mazda’s first fully-electric vehicle expresses Kodo Design in a more utilitarian way.

Since its inception ten years ago, Mazda’s Kodo Design philosophy has been the driving force behind multiple award-winning styling across the world. Both the RX-Vision and the Vision Coupe have being named the “Most Beautiful Concept Car of the Year” and the revamped Mazda MX-5 won the “World Car Design Award” in 2015.

More recently, the Mazda CX-30 and the new MX-30 have won a Red Dot Award 2020 in the “Product Design” category, while the Mazda3 was named World Car Design of the year in the distinguished 2020 World Car Awards. 

Over the last ten years, Kodo Design has not just been confined to automotive design. In order to fulfil the promise of creating designs with a soul, the design team set up a process that combines creativity, craftsmanship and cooperation to explore the boundaries of Kodo Design.

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