According to a well placed source at Mazda's North American Operations, the world?s one and only rotary-powered production car will cease North American sales, most likely after the 2011 model year. As we noted last month, Mazda has already officially announced that European sales of the Mazda RX-8 will not continue after 2011, due to more stringent EuroV emissions standards.
Although the Wankel-engined, 2+2 sports car was recently refreshed (2009) and currently meets all U.S. emissions standards (which are in some ways more strict that EuroV), Mazda sold only 128 RX-8s in April of 2010 for a total of 428 year to date. The company builds the cars in Hiroshima, Japan, so it may make financial sense to cut back production and shipping costs on such a low volume sports car, in favor of its better selling, piston-powered vehicles.
Does this mean Mazda is giving up on rotaries? No. Remember that North American sales of the RX-7 ceased in 2002, a full two years before the RX-8 made its debut. Mazda?s market-by-market wind down of RX-8 sales may indicate a shift of resources towards the long rumored return of the RX-7. Our Japan correspondent has reported that an RX-7 is in development, it will be rotary powered and should arrive sometime in calendar year 2013.
We can only hope...