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Vehicle recalls have come in force recently. Honda expanded its front driver's side Takata airbag inflator recall nationwide to cover an estimated 5.4-million vehicles, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration added 19 notices to its database covering safety campaigns dating back to October. It looks like there could be one more to add to the list soon because Mazda is considering a possible nationwide expansion of its own inflator repairs.


Some rumors in the auto industry simply refuse to die. Over the last decade, a few of the strongest have focused on Japan. A few years ago, we could have explained away the constant whispering over a new Toyota Supra, Acura NSX or Mazda RX-7 as nostalgia for Japan's golden era of performance. Today, though is different.


Faulty Takata airbag inflators keep taking their toll on automakers. Mazda is the latest to be affected in the US by announcing a recall covering 18,050 Mazda6 and RX-8 models to replace the front, passenger-side airbags. Specifically, the campaign covers 18,000 Mazda6 units from the 2003 and 2004 model years built between May 29, 2002, and March 4, 2004, and 50 RX-8 vehicles from the 2004 model year made between June 25, 2003, and June 30, 2003.


Now-Dead Cars That Launched 10 Years Ago

Automotive anniversaries are often big news. Last year, the Chevrolet Corvette turned 60 and the Porsche 911 hit 50. This year, the spritely Mazda MX-5 Miata turns 25. The iconic Ford Mustang just turned the big Five-Oh, too.


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.


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 o


There are very few vehicles available today that compare directly with the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ twins. A case could be made for the Mazda MX-5 Miata, and possibly even six-cylinder versions of American coupes like the Ford Mustang. Pretty much everything else is either too expensive or is powered by the wrong set of wheels.


There is a special place in our hearts reserved for the Mazda RX-7. Its screaming rotary engine made the '80s and '90s a time of high-revving fun. While Mazda continued the rotary with the four-door RX-8, the two are not the same car, and eventually the latter was phased out.


Ah, the Wankel. You magnificent, high-reving feat of unorthodox engineering. Your biggest champion, Mazda, may have left you – at least for the moment – but that doesn't mean some mad mechanics can't rally you and a few friends for a high-horsepower party.


Mark it down, auto enthusiasts. Mazda built its last rotary engine on Friday, June 22. By final, we mean the line that assembled Renesis engines for Mazda's RX-8 sports car was idled, and there are currently no plans to restart its production. Mazda has a long-running history of building Wankel powerplants, and its production of the high-revving engine has seen a few stutters since Mazda put the first dual-rotor Wankel in a production car in 1967. Of course, it's always possible that Mazda


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.


As we prepare to flip our calendars from 2011 to 2012, it's time to say goodbye to a handful of vehicles that are being sent to the Great Parking Lot In The Sky before the 2012 model year completely takes hold. And while we're not exactly upset about having to bid farewell to things like the Mitsubishi Endeavor, Mazda Tribute or Chevrolet HHR, there are a few vehicles that we're truly going to miss.


In the soap opera saga of are they or aren't they still developing a rotary engine, Mazda seems to have indicated the affirmative. According to a translation of a Tweet from Mazda PR posted on a Japanese car blog, a "new model with a next-generation rotary engine" is in development.


Mazda has chosen to commemorate the departure of the company's RX-8 with one last special edition in Japan. The Mazda RX-8 Spirit R is set to arrive at Japanese dealerships next month and will offer 1,000 lucky buyers a host of aesthetic upgrades over the base vehicle. The package starts with an RX-8 RS and adds in exclusive badging, unique head- and taillights with black bezels and red brake calipers outside. Indoors, the cabin wears special Spirit R bucket seats hewn by the people at Recaro as


Toyota-Ford tie-up, Mazda RX-8 and Dakota cancelled, VW Up!, Cadillac ELR


We record Episode #244 of the Autoblog Podcast tonight, and you can drop Chris, Dan and Zach your questions via our Q&A module below. Check out our discussion topics or chime in to help determine what else the crew chats about this evening, too. Subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes if you haven't already done so, and if you want to take it all in live, tune in to our UStream (audio only) channel at 10:00 PM Eastern tonight.


Automotive News is reporting that Mazda has stopped production of its RX-8 sports car due to lackluster sales and ever tighter global emissions standards. Mazda managed to move a mere 1,134 of the models last year, and 2011 hasn't treated the rotary any better. Sales are down 21 percent through July. The Japanese automaker was forced to remove the model from European showrooms last year after it failed to meet emissions standards, and the company says that it simply can't justify continuing to m

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