Tom Matano

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Tom Matano
Tsutomu Matano

ResidenceIrvine, California, U.S.
OccupationMazda's Chief Designer
EmployerMazda North American Operations, Mazda Motor Corporation Japan
Known forDesign and R&D of the Mazda MX-5 Miata NA-NB and Mazda RX-7 FD

Tom "Tsutomu" Matano is an advertising agent, automotive designer, and automotive journalist. Matano was born in Nagasaki, Japan, and continued to live in Japan until after his studies in university. He began an Analysis Engineering Major at Seikei University in Tokyo, Japan, in April 1965 and graduated in March 1969. Following his graduation, Matano moved to the United States in September 1970[1] via his uncle's container ship, landing himself in Seattle, then to Los Angeles, and finally New York City.

Once in America, he continued his education with a semester of language school, ditching plans to transfer to Environmental Design, and graduated in 1974 for a job in Detroit with General Motors. Consequently, due to Matano's work visa and the rising oil crisis, GM moved him to Australia to work for Holden Design along side Phillip Zmood, mostly working on the GM Holden Torana, departing in 1977 for Germany and BMW in Munich, Germany.

In 1983, Matano joined Mazda as Chief Designer for Mazda North American Operations, then moved up to become the Vice President of Design and eventually the Executive Vice President of Western Operations for Mazda R&D North America, Inc., as well as the Executive Designer and Director of Mazda North American Operations.[2] In his career with Mazda, his notable designs stand out in many vehicles, such as the Mazda RX-7, Mazda MX-5, the Miata "M-Coupe" concept car, and numerous other projects with his large group of design teams he created.

In recent times, Matano works as a journalist for the Western Automotive Journalists[3]

Career Timeline[edit]

  • Before 1983 Numerous design positions within BMW, Volvo, and GM.
  • 1983-1999 Executive VP, Mazda Research and Development of Mazda North American Operations
  • 1999-2002 Executive Designer for Mazda Motor Corp., Japan
  • 2002-Present Executive Director, School of Industrial Design, Academy of Art University, San Francisco
  • 2008-Present VP of Design, Next Autoworks (Previously V-Vehicle)[4]
  • Present Journalist for Western Automotive Journalists

Automotive Designs[edit]

Tom's work with Mazda to sketch the first generation Mazda MX-5 Miata.

Mazda MX-5 Miata[edit]

Part of Matano's history with Mazda in the years 1983-2002 was spent on the design of the Mazda MX-5 Miata with fellow designer C. Mark Jordan.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Mazda Miata MX-5 designer Tom Matano a.k.a Mr.Miata and me -". Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  2. ^ "Tom Matano, IDSA". Industrial Designers Society of America - IDSA. 2012-04-09. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  3. ^ Dominguez, Sally. "Tom Matano". Curve. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  4. ^ "Man behind Miata decides there's a Next act in design". Automotive News. Retrieved 2017-03-14.