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Mazda Puts RX Sports Car on Hold, Will Focus on Mainstream Models

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 11/10/2014 Jason Udy
Mazda Rx 9 Design Sketch© Provided by MotorTrend Mazda Rx 9 Design Sketch

Despite recent rumors of a rotary-powered Mazda sports car concept by 2017 and a production model in 2020, a new report suggests the small Japanese automaker will instead focus its efforts on the second generation of its mainstream Skyactiv models.

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"It's difficult for us at present to further expand our lineup," Masamichi Kogai, Mazda Motor Corp. CEO, told Automotive News. "The company is still in the process of improving its financial structure. We want to focus our limited resources on the Skyactiv products that we have today." He went on to say there are no plans for an RX sports car at this time.

"We don't have that kind of vehicle in our future product plan," Kogai said. "If you increase the number of segments, then the resources we can allocate to each will decline and that will prevent us from developing truly good products."

So far, the automaker has applied its Skyactiv suite of technologies to the majority of its lineup excluding the three-row CX-9 crossover and Mazda5 mini minivan. The automaker recently revealed the fourth-generation MX-5 Miata roadster and second-generation Mazda2 hatchback, while the new subcompact CX-3 crossover will be shown at the upcoming 2014 Los Angeles auto show.

Most recent rumors suggested an upcoming Mazda RX sports car would be powered by a 450-hp rotary derived from the 1.6-liter 16X R-2 concept engine boosted by a capacitor-powered electric turbocharger for low end power and a conventional exhaust-driven turbocharger for higher rpms.

Earlier this year, Mazda’s global design chief Ikuo Maeda said he wants the automaker to bring back the RX-series sports car, but the new rotary engine would have to meet tough new emission standards.

Instead of a rotary-powered sports car, the automaker will go after quality sales rather than just higher volumes. "We're holding down incentives, without pursuing volume," Kogai said. "The challenge for us now is how we can sustain this."

The current plan is to focus on new Skyactiv 2 engines that could use homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI). The new technology is currently under research and development by several automakers. Mazda hopes to have the HCCI ready by 2020. The automaker claims the new system could improve fuel efficiency by 30 percent.

Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)

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