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Mazda and its development of a new rotary sportscar has been an on again, off again drama ever since it revealed the RX-Vision Concept in 2015. A recent interview with managing executive officer in charge of technical research and integrated control system development, Mitsuo Hitomi, however, suggests the program remains alive.
The history of Mazda’s rotary rumours as far as we can track it are as follows…
- In June 2014, two years after the RX-8 was discontinued, Mazda hints at a model to be revealed in 2017 to mark the 50th anniversary of the rotary.
- Five months later, Mazda confirms it had no plans to revive the rotary.
- Less than a year later Mazda unveils its RX-Vision Concept with a proposal that suggested it would see a 2020 release.
- Three months later Mazda reveals that the development of the rotary is more challenging than they initially anticipated but assures fans that a reborn rotary engine is on the way.
- Three weeks later Mazda’s CEO confirms that there will be no new rotary model in the future product line-up.
Eight months later we find ourselves here, with information sourced by Hitomi-san of Wheels Magazine. Hitomi-san has revealed that Mazda is still busy developing the rotary despite apparent internal indecisions around this powerplant.
“We cannot improve the rotary engine to current conventional engine levels of emissions,” admits Hitomi, though he did indicate that the current focus is on fixing common rotary-related issues such as apex seal wear and oil consumption.
Budgetary issues around the development of a new rotary remains a concern, many investors believing there to be little in the way of return on investment.
“Rotary is very important to Mazda,” Kudo-san acknowleded. “It’s Mazda’s centenary in 2020,” he added, while emphasising it to be a motivation for tech-driven launches.
Given the current state of the rotary it doesn’t look like this is a done-deal for an RX-8 successor. We’ll just have to wait and see…