The company’s iconic rotary-powered RX-8 four-door coupe, which shares its chassis with the MX-5, will cease production in June 2012. “Production of the RX-8 does stop in 2012 but what comes after that I’m not in a position to say,” said Yamanouchi-san. “But I have been saying everywhere that we will continue research on the rotary engine. We will not extinguish the flame of the rotary engine,” he added.
One possibility on how Mazda could combine the coupe and MX-5 roadster into one model is to build a hardtop coupe-convertible similar to the Mercedes-Benz SLK or BMW Z4.
Mazda has yet to determine whether the next-generation rotary engine would continue as a conventional combustion engine or work in tandem with other power sources. “I think there are two major directions we are discussing. One is the application of the rotary as a conventional powerplant,” said Yamanouchi-san. He commented that the company need to upgrade the fuel efficiency and torque of the next generation rotary power plant or else there won’t be much progress as compared to the current rotary in the RX-8.