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.
We last reported on Mazda's next-generation rotary engine project in June of 2012 when the automaker built its last Renesis-powered RX-8, but rumors of this new engine's development had been around way before that final car left the production line in Japan, last year.
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
At the end of 2011, the Mazda RX-8 rotary-powered sport coupe/sedan will cease to exist in new-car showrooms. With it, the mass-produced rotary engine will take another hiatus. The original plan was to have the Renesis, the world's only mass-produced rotary, come back maybe as early as 2017 in a new sports car. In fact, we just heard reports that Mazda's rotor-obsessed gearhead engineers were still manning the program, albeit at a reduced pace.
Mazda Kabura Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery
2009 Mazda RX-8 - Click above for high-res image gallery
Say what you will about the styling of the Mazda Taiki concept that's currently on display in Tokyo. It's quite possible that what's underneath is more interesting, anyway. Under the hood of the Taiki is a new gen rotary engine from Mazda called the 16X Renesis. Of course, the Rotary engine has its share of detractors, but Mazda's sticking with it anyway.