Posts Tagged ‘mazda rx-8’

Mazda CEO says rotary not viable, so don’t look for a new one

Published by Mazda Blogs on November 19th, 2013

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Mazda President Masamichi Kogai Introduces New Mazda 3/Axela

We have some very sad news to report, rotor-heads fans: Don’t expect a new rotary-powered vehicle anytime soon. This comes straight from Masamichi Kogai, the CEO of Mazda, which is the only company to ever market a commercially successful rotary-powered automobile in the world. The issue, as it has pretty much always been, is environmental.

While the Wankel rotary engine does indeed make a lot of power in a small, lightweight package, it does so while burning lots of fuel and emitting lots of noxious gases into the atmosphere, at least when running on gasoline. And that means the rotary engine will likely only ever be able to power niche vehicles. And that, in turn, means that it is very difficult to turn a profit on vehicles with rotary engines, particularly for a small automaker like Mazda.

“It has to be a viable commercial proposition. If we are going to adopt it, it has to be a product that can generate at least sales of 100,000 units a year. We have to be able to achieve a profit,” said Kogai in an interview with Automotive News. Mazda sold 56,203 RX-7 models in the United States (the automaker’s biggest market) in 1986. Sales of the RX-8 peaked in 2004, its first full year on the market, with just 23,690 units.

There is a sliver of hope, though. “We are the first and only manufacturer to commercialize the rotary engine. In that respect, we have some responsibility,” said Kogai. Research will continue on the rotary engine at Mazda, and, since the engine will run on a wide variety of fuels, including hydrogen, it is possible that we’ll see a rotary return on an alternate fuel sometime in the not-too-near future.

Mazda CEO says rotary not viable, so don’t look for a new one originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 19 Nov 2013 14:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda engineers urging execs for more RWD models

Published by Mazda Blogs on October 3rd, 2013

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2009 Mazda RX-8

According to Edmunds, Mazda engineers are pressuring the company to create more rear-wheel-drive models, in an effort to better differentiate itself from its rivals. This push is reportedly coming from middle and senior engineers within the company, and these folks at Mazda believe this rear-drive strategy would allow the automaker to produce more distinctive, fun to drive cars. Mazda discontinued the rear-drive (and rotary-engined) RX-8 a few years ago, leaving the MX-5 Miata as the company’s only RWD offering.

As enthusiasts, we’re fully on board with Mazda offering more rear-drive cars, but unsurprisingly, the company’s top management isn’t exactly keen on the idea – and with good reason. First and foremost, the cost associated with redesigning fresh architecture for new models would be very high, and considering the fact that Mazda hasn’t exactly been raking in the dough lately, an expensive new venture like this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. What’s more, Mazda’s latest front-drive models – the Mazda3, Mazda6 and CX-5 – have been very well-received, and are helping the company gain sales momentum.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other options. Edmunds reminds us that Mazda is already partnering with Alfa Romeo on the next-generation Miata, and if this collaboration is successful, perhaps the relationship could bear additional fruit. After all, Alfa Romeo is said to be working on returning to its rear-wheel-drive roots, so Mazda’s engineers might be able to make a case for more RWD goodness after all.

Mazda engineers urging execs for more RWD models originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 02 Oct 2013 13:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Reprieve! End of Mazda RX-8 pushed back by extra 1,000 units

Published by Mazda Blogs on April 27th, 2012

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2012 Mazda RX-8 Spirit R

And now for some good news from Mazda: it is doubling the run of its limited edition RX-8 Spirit R, adding 1,000 more units to production due to demand. Announced late last year, this Japan-only model celebrates the end of the RX-8′s nine-year existence. The final Wankel-engined four-door is scheduled to roll off the line in June.

The Spirit R doesn’t skimp on the extra trim bits inside and out, with larger brakes clamped by red calipers, piano-black transmission tunnel trim, Recaro Sprint R bucket seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and an enhanced traction control system among the bonus features.

Both automatic and manual transmissions are offered, but takers have gone decisively for the row-your-own cogswapper, making up 66 percent of orders. Compared to the automatic, they receive larger 19-inch wheels on lower profile tires, a “hard suspension,” alloy pedals and aero bits. Hit the jump for the press release with more details.

Continue reading Reprieve! End of Mazda RX-8 pushed back by extra 1,000 units

Reprieve! End of Mazda RX-8 pushed back by extra 1,000 units originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 27 Apr 2012 11:13:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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