Press Release


Mazda Test-Drive Program to Visit 20-plus Cities Across the U.S. to Share the Love of Reading and Spirit of Dr. Seuss’ ‘The Lorax’


WASHINGTON (February 17, 2012) – The National Education Association (NEA), in partnership with Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) and Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment’s Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, today announced that February 21, 2012 will mark the beginning of its “Read Across America Tour – Driven by Mazda.”  The tour will visit more than 20 cities, stopping at public schools and Mazda dealerships across the country to bring the gift of reading to thousands of public school students.

NEA’s Read Across America Program is the organization’s signature literacy effort to help children develop a love of reading during their early years.  Studies show that students who enjoy reading perform better in school, boast higher test scores, develop comprehension proficiency and improve analytical skills faster and better than their peers who read less frequently.  

Mazda has pledged to support the effort by donating up to $1 million toward our nation’s public school libraries.  Between February 20and April 2, consumers test driving any Mazda vehicle at a local dealership will enable Mazda to donate $25 per test drive toward local public school libraries, up to a total of $1 million.  Administered by the NEA Foundation, this donation will provide vital funds to help the nation’s struggling public school libraries.

“Every Mazda blends an envious combination of environmental, driving and safety performance,” said Don Romano, chief marketing officer, Mazda North American Operations.  “But the greater importance of our work this summer is our partnership with NEA’s Read Across America tour.  With the involvement of every one of our 640-plus U.S. dealers, we have raised our long-standing commitment to support literacy across the U.S., helping our nation’s children achieve peak performance through the gift of reading.”

NEA’s “Read Across America Tour – Driven by Mazda” will focus on sharing the story of Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax” with students, raise awareness for public schools in need and provide an opportunity for consumers to show that they care – as the Lorax teaches us – “a whole awful lot.”  Visit to download the test-drive donation form to take in to a local Mazda dealership and complete the test drive. 

“Mazda is a different kind of car company,” added Romano.  “Our pledge to help raise up to $1 million for public school libraries and our ‘Truffula Tree’-approved SKYACTIV® TECHNOLOGY are just a couple of ways Mazda expresses its commitment to our communities and the future of our natural resources.”

            “NEA’s national Read Across America celebration is not just about one hour or one day of reading,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel.  “It is about cultivating a lifetime of good reading habits in students that will translate into academic success.”

             “NEA’s Read Across America Tour brings students, parents, educators and the entire community together to share the joy of reading,” added Van Roekel.  “At a time of budget cutbacks in education resources, including reading resources, NEA appreciates Mazda’s unique partnership to help raise $1 million to support our nation’s public school libraries and ensure all children have access to the gift of reading.”

NEA’s “Read Across America Tour – Driven by Mazda” will travel through both the West and East Coasts, visiting schools and Mazda dealerships, and culminate with a final stop in New York City on March 2 to celebrate “Read Across America Day,” Dr. Seuss’ birthday and the opening of Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment’s 3D feature Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax.

            Superstar Zac Efron, who lends his vocal talents to the animated adventure, will serve as a celebrity guest reader at The New York Public Library for the March 2 national reading event that celebrates “Read Across America Day.”  Star voices from the film – including Danny DeVito, Ed Helms, Taylor Swift, Rob Riggle and Betty White – will join Zac Efron as co-chairs of this year’s Read Across America Program.

As the first and only carmaker to receive The Lorax’s honor of the “Truffula Tree Seal of Approval,” Mazda will power the reading tour by providing Mazda CX-5 and Mazda3 vehicles, equipped SKYACTIV® TECHNOLOGY and wrapped with the colorful graphics of the program.

The Mazda CX-5 boasts 35 MPG, the highest highway fuel economy of any SUV sold in America and the highest combined fuel economy of any non-hybrid SUV, while the Mazda3 with SKYACTIV® TECHNOLOGY delivers up to 40 MPG highway.  With NEA’s Read Across America Tour being “Driven by Mazda,” it can deliver the love of reading to children across the country and make the Lorax proud by treading lightly on the Earth. 

The NEA’s “Read Across America Tour – Driven by Mazda” schedule is as follows.  Please note dates and locations are subject to change.


About Mazda North American Operations:

Mazda North American Operations is headquartered in Irvine, Calif. and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States, Canada and Mexico through nearly 900 dealers.  Operations in Canada are managed by Mazda Canada Inc., located in Ontario; and in Mexico by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.

About NEA:

The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

About the NEA Foundation:

The NEA Foundation is a public charity supported by contributions from educators’ dues, corporate sponsors, and others who support public education initiatives. We partner with education unions, districts, and communities to create powerful, sustainable improvements in teaching and learning. Visit for more information. 

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About Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax:

From the creators of Despicable Me and the imagination of Dr. Seuss comes the much anticipated feature Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, a 3D-CG adaptation of the classic tale of a forest guardian who shares the enduring power of hope.  The animated adventure follows the journey of a 12-year-old as he searches for a real Truffula Tree, the one thing that will enable him to win the affection of the girl of his dreams.  To get it he must find the story of the Lorax, the acerbic yet charming character who fights to protect his world. 

Lending their vocal talents to the project are Danny DeVito as the iconic title character of the Lorax and Ed Helms as the enigmatic Once-ler.  Also bringing their voices to the adventure are global superstars Zac Efron as Ted, the idealistic youth who searches for the Lorax, and Grammy Award winner Taylor Swift as Audrey, the girl of Ted’s dreams.  Rounding out the cast are Rob Riggle as the villain O’Hare, Jenny Slate as Ted’s protective mother and beloved actress Betty White as Ted’s wise Grammy Norma. 

Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax is the third feature created by Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment (Despicable Me, Hop).


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