Mazda has said it won’t bring a rotary sports car like the RX Vision to market anytime soon, as it doesn’t have the proper resources to do so. Mazda's head of research and development, Kiyoshi Fujiwara, told media at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show this week that it cannot bring a production rotary sportscar to market in time for its centenary anniversary in 2020. The arrival of the RX-7 successor may hinge on the success of its new Skyactiv-X compression-ignition gasoline engine. If the innovative four-cylinder mill can make Mazda some money, it will move onward to its rotary RX Vision project.
"If we achieve success [with Skyactiv-X] probably we can have money enough to invest in the next challenge, then we can judge to go ahead," Fujiwara told Motoring. "It's going to be too late to make the RX-Vision for the centennial.”
Update: We received a response from Mazda that confirmed plans for a 2019 electric car available in battery-only and range-extended models, but there was no comment on any other details. The text has been updated to reflect this.
It may be time for rotary fans to start getting their hopes up a little for a return of the spinning triangle engine. Automotive News spoke with Mitsuo Hitomi, the man in charge of Mazda powertrains, who said there's a very good chance the next implementation of the rotary engine will be as an electric car range extender. The news source also suggests that such a vehicle could be just around the corner, since Akira Kyomen, Mazda's vehicle development program manager, confirmed to Automotive News that the company will have an EV out in 2019 in both pure electric and range-extended versions. We reached out to Mazda for more information, and a representative confirmed both the pure electric and range-extended models for 2019, but couldn't comment on anything else regarding those vehicles.
The iconic rotary engine is still under development by a small team of engineers at Mazda, despite the company’s continuing focus on increasing its global footprint at the cost of investing heavily in the drivetrain.
Speaking to CarAdvice at the Mazda technology forum in Frankfurt last week, the Japanese company's director and senior managing executive officer of research and development, Kiyoshi Fujiwara, admitted that while work continues on the rotary engine, Mazda needs to invest its limited R&D budget into other technologies, for the time being.
Mazda has confirmed it is working on a next-generation rotary engine that may arrive in time for its centenary anniversary in 2020.
Speaking to Australia’s Wheels Magazine, Mazda’s Technical Research Centre and Integrated Control System Development boss, Mitsuo Hitomi, revealed the automaker is working on a new rotary engine. Hitomi said development of the rotary has focused on fixing some of the well-known shortcomings of the engine, such as apex seal wear and oil consumption. He also acknowledged that it isn’t possible to achieve the same emissions levels as a conventional engine in a rotary.
The latest edition of Mazda’s internal magazine, Zoom-Zoom, may hint at the arrival of a Hydrogen-powered rotary engine sportscar from the Japanese automaker.
In an article marking the 50th anniversary of the rotary-powered Cosmo Sport, Mazda explained that the rotary engine’s biggest drawback is poor fuel economy and emissions. A rotary engine has plenty of positives, however, including its compact size, and smooth, free-revving nature, so it’s easy to see why Mazda is reluctant to kill it off.