NEWS: Mazda knows it’s the lone steward of the rotary engine


Recently Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai was quoted saying there are no plans for a rotary engined sports car. Fans interpreted that as the rotary was dead as a doornail, picked up their pitchforks and got ready to march on Hiroshima, but if you read the entire the end of the article, then you can see Mazda sees itself as something most automakers do not: a steward.

12A Mazda Rotary Engine SA22C

Our friend Berny Herrera at recently had the opportunity to interview Kogai-san to clear up some of his statements:

I can tell you that Mazda IS proceeding with the research and development of the Rotary Engine, and the team doing the work does exist.

As part of our responsibility (as the only manufacturer who has successfully commercialized the RE) , I do not think Mazda is allowed to discontinue the development of the Rotary Engine. But at the present time Mazda has no specific program or project (assigned) for the Rotary Engine, but Mazda will continue to explore all potential uses for the Rotary Engine.

In other words, because Mazda is a tiny company trying to compete with big fish like Toyota, GM, Volkswagen-Audi-Skoda-Porsche-Bugatti-Lamborghini-Bentley-Ducati and Renault-Nissan-Dacia-Samsung-Venucia-Lada, it needs to strong base of cars like the Mazda 6 or CX-5. Having that base of support is the only way you’ll see a new rotary.

This post is filed under: News.

15 Responses to NEWS: Mazda knows it’s the lone steward of the rotary engine

  1. johnny mac says:

    The rotary is dead because it is not possible to meet the ever tightening emission standards.
    Due to it’s design it has always struggled to have low emissions.

    • pstar says:

      Screw you.

    • Aaron Cake says:

      It’s true that it can’t meet the very strict emissions requirements of today, but false that it has “always struggled to have low emissions”. Mazda was in fact the only manufacturer in the 70s to meet the strict emissions requirements at the time without catalytic converters. This was because of the rotary and the thermal reactor emissions system. The high rotary EGTs and the unburned hydrocarbons meant that complete combustion could take place in the large thermal reactor exhaust manifold, the waste heat then going through a heat exchager to be fed back to the process by ports at the exhaust ports up. A little complicated and heavy, but very effective and those engines not only produced very little NOX/CO/HC but were getting over 30MPG on the highway. Unfortunately they produced very high HCs until the system came up to temperature and once Mazda figured out catalytic converters, the thermal reactors were replaced simply because the cats were lighter and lit off faster on startup. But unlike the cats, a thermal reactor basically runs forever as long as nothing cracks and the air valves don’t fail.

  2. Wayne Thomas says:

    Mazda is correct in its thinking while emotional online fanboys will never become CEOs. It is called positive cash flow. This is the most important thing above making a profit…for a while anyway. All companies need cash flow and so Mazda needs to make the boring milquetoast cars that the masses demand in order to generate the necessary revenue to develop cars that have a soul.

    Porsche still gets derided for the Cayenne and Panamera, but these two posweur cars allow them the cash flow to develop their performance cars. Passion is needed, but car companies are in the business of making money not cars.

  3. pstar says:

    Mazda IS rotary, and vice versa. That other scuker brought up Porsche. What is Porsche without a 911? What is Mazda without a rotary car. A disgrace, that’s what. I don’t want to live in a world without a Mazda RX.

    This Kogai character BETTER be pulling some orgasm-denial-fetish bullshit, because if there’s not a 2017 RX7 I am going to freak the fuck out and it isn’t going to be good. LMK when we are marching on Hiroshima, I’ll get my chainsaws and such ready.

  4. daniel guzman says:

    I hope for the return of rotary engine with hydrogen fuel, they do a few years ago, so emissions whats??? the same problems of the rotary but its a sport car, so high comsumption it´s a litlle compromise.

    Mazda is perfecting the way to build a light car with all the moderns requeriments, nobody, maybe BMW in carbon fibre form, do anything in this way.

    And desing in a personal way too.

  5. Serg says:

    As special as the rotary is are we really saying that the RXs are bad cars without it? I don’t think so; I think if the FD ran an I4 or boxer it’s still be one of the most potent chassis ever made.

    Considering the way auto tech is progressing I think the next RX we see will have some sort of petrol/diesel powerplant supplying electric motors with power they then convert into bendy rainbow light trails ala Star Trek, powering the vehicle away from other cars while in an off camber hairpin with full traction.

    Just throw in another set of apex seals, drop the clutch in third and flip the planet the bird while you still can.

  6. Joe Cepeda says:

    After reading this I bet the FD is going up a few more thousand dollars on Craigslist. (sigh)

  7. gypsy says:

    Does it really matter to classic car enthusiasts whether Mazda actually continue building rotary powered cars ? It makes no difference to most of us, it’s not as though they will be remaking panels and engine parts for the old stuff that interests the classic car guys.

    The newer cars, 20B Cosmos, FD’s, Rx8’s only serve as a source of running gear for the classic cars they made !

    • Randy says:

      I’m tending toward agreeing with gypsy here.

      Maybe the rotary could be used in industrial designs, which would/could provide parts for the older engines… Maybe for planes…

      Serg mentioned the petrol/diesel idea – all for it, but how about add in flex-fuel, for countries where there’s alcohol available, like Brazil, since alcohol burns cleaner.

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