Could Mazda Have Halted Rotary Engine Development?

by Mazda in the News on August 11, 2011

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Although Manchester Mazda tells us that rotary engine development is still going strong within Mazda, the latest reports suggest that work on the engine has been halted. Ward’s Auto reports that development on the Renesis engine, the world’s only mass-produced rotary, has been the victim of a weakened Japanese economy.

While the extent and pace of development isn’t confirmed, Mazda Dealer Miami says it’s clear that a new rotary engine is a low priority. Engineering teams at Mazda are currently more concerned with developing traditional engines that deliver strong fuel economy.

As Mazda refines its new SKYACTIV powertrain technology, piston-free mills seem more and more unlikely to continue on. These engines, while powerful, haven’t performed well in the areas of fuel economy and emissions.

Still, despite the challenges and limitations of rotaries, Mazda Dealers Phoenix still hopes that a successor to the RX-8 will arrive in the next few years.

“I’ve always said rotary engines literally are part of our soul,” said product planning and powertrain development head Kiyoshi Fujiwara. “We have to continue the rotary-engine evolution.”

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