On this day in auto history - August 20th

Fri 20th Aug 2021

It was on this day in 1991 that Mazda announced plans to enter the luxury car market with the unveiling of its Amati marque - which came to be 'the brand that never was'.

Having seen Japanese rivals Honda (Acura), Nissan (Infiniti) and most notably Toyota (Lexus) enjoy success in North America with similar ventures, Mazda wanted to follow suit.

The Amati range was to include a number of ambitious projects, the main ‘headline-grabber’ being the Amati 1000, a 4-litre sedan powered by a mammoth 3981cc, 12-cylinder engine capable of providing 276bhp.

In all, Mazda spent well over $500 million on developing its Amati project; offices had been leased in California and 82 dealerships had been signed up in North America to sell the cars. 

However, in October 1992 - barely a year after Amati had been launched - Mazda made the bombshell announcement at a Hiroshima press conference that it was abandoning the project due to financial pressures caused by the worldwide recession.