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Scoop: Upcoming RX-3 Looses the Rotary!
Submitted by Dan Mazzella on Friday, November 4, 2005 - 10:18am

Here's the scoop folks. We've been predicting Mazda will bring out a small Coupe/Sports Car to sit along side the RX-8 (See our article from Feb 2003!). At SEMA, we've learned the plans have firmed up, and concept will be unveiled at NAIAS/Detroit in January. The little concept started out life in the sketch pads with inspiration from the 1970's Mazda Sports Coupe the RX-3. The project, known as "The Coupe" internally, was initially was planned to be Rotary powered. However, something within the last few months has taken a wrong turn. At some point, this great looking little car has has lost it's soul: the Rotary! The concept will be unveiled with a piston engine in it, so of course it will not be called the RX-3.

The concept is a quite good looking car, with some in a secret Hollywood, Ca. focus group held the Friday before SevenStock calling it a cross between an Astom Martin and the RX-8. At SEMA, Mazda design director Franz von Holzhausen, said, "It's an exciting continuation of the Mazda DNA." The car is the third in the series of conceps from Mazda design Studios around the world. The first, the Mazda SASSOU was a B-car design from the German Studios and was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The second was the Mazda SENKU, designed by Mazda Yokohama studios and unveiled at the Tokyo Autoshow last month. This car will be the third in the series, built by the Irvine Mazda Studio, and be shown in Detroit. Each car was designed for their own market, with an eye at global sales.

Mazda: The rotary IS your DNA for sports cars! Make this car a rotary!

Readers: leave your feedback on this development here and we'll make sure MAZDA gets your messages.

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subject:
Is this supposed to be a 3 co
author:
date:
December 20, 2005 - 9:13am
Is this supposed to be a 3 coupe or a replacement for the focus zx3? I'm not impressed. Or is it something else, a miata coupe perhaps? I don't get it.
Luckily, this car won't take any money away from my 7, which could use another transmission.
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subject:
If your worried about fuel
author:
date:
December 9, 2005 - 5:44pm
If the exec's are worried about fuel economy, Why not use the renenis technology (end, intermediate plates and injection) with the old faithful 12A rotors and housings!
RX2's weren't that bad on fuel, til you put your foot in it!
You obviously need the right car for it to go in, so why not another concept mazda have already developed, "Sassou"
http://www.mazda.com.au/articleZone5.asp?articleZoneID=4837
Just a suggestion.
But Let's face it,
The new breed of designer COULDN'T replicate the classic RX2/3/4 even if they wanted!
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subject:
new RX-3
author:
date:
December 5, 2005 - 6:53am
to tell you the true if is a piston motor uaahhh!don't expect me at the dealer ship.i keep my RX-7 forever.but if they put a rotary engine on it tomorow il be the firts one to buy it.
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subject:
mazda stop giving us rotary f
author:
date:
December 2, 2005 - 6:35am
mazda stop giving us rotary fans crap, drop a 20b renesis NA in this car and the rx-8(keep the 13b renesis as the base model) and sales will pick up, the rx-8 its a nearly perfect car but its competition offers more power, when are you going to stop following and star leading?
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subject:
New RX-3?
author:
date:
November 28, 2005 - 5:59am
No rotary engine? What planet am I on?

So then, will it be called a new 808/818?

C'mon people.. As if Mazda will destroy their image by making a new coupe based on a rotary favourite with a piston engine.. they won't?......right? >:(

Dear Mazda,
If you do you will break the hearts of many many many loyal Mazda enthusiasts...including me. I have been a loyal Mazda driver since I got my licence at 16, now I'm 29 and have owned many old Mazda rotaries and their piston versions. Currently I own a restored RX-3 coupe(my 3rd RX-3) and it's my pride and joy. What a sight it would be to see it parked next to a new retro Mazda RX-3!!!!

Listen to the people... if the other companies that have gone retro with their new models...Mazda can too. The RX-8's dash is very similar to the early RX-3's design. That was so heart warming to see. I know you can do it with a new design platform that has hints of the original RX-3's design. It would be spectacular to see something like that. You got away with the RX8 because it was a first, but when re-introducing a classic it must stay a classic. Like the RX7...

Also, whats wrong with the original motor? A 12A Renesis sounds good.... Would be better on fuel, smaller (for a smaller designed car) high reving and a blessing for all vintage Mazda drivers to replace their existing motor's when they get tired... Since rebuild's and seal replacements are a small fortune these days. Do you also see that there are people putting rotary motor's in different RWD cars these days..and then some. The motor is popular, it's design, it's power, it's cost effective compared to other motor's with the same power possibilities.

Mazda and rotaries are a way of life for many of us, don't ruin the image, please stick with the rotary engine when thinking of new applications, especially in the sports car department. You have the upper hand. No one else knows the rotary engine like you do and no one else has the rotary engine in production, which makes you stand out and unique in the automotive industry. If you bring out a new rotary based on the RX-3 in design and uniqueness you will have me as a customer for sure, but if you brought out the whole rotary line up from the (Cosmo maybe?) R100, RX2, RX3, RX4 and RX5 you will bring back fond memories from your original customers and start a new REvolution in todays car market. Oh the colours, the designs, the different characters that stand out and are so passionate about their favourite new rotary just like the old ones.
I say retro all of them. A dream you say? Here's to dreaming..cheers!

You have the customers, you have the enthusiasts, you have the loyal fan base, do we really need a million signatures to prove this? Just look around a bit...We're everywhere ;)

I'm sure you'll see the light...

foREver.
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subject:
A bit disappointing
author:
date:
November 11, 2005 - 7:36am
Maybe we'll be lucky and this car will be just like the RX-3...and the RX-3's piston powered equivalent (the 303, I believe). Two engine options for the same chassis. That would actually solve many problems, and open doors for the car. For the person who wants fuel economy, a piston engine. For those of us who prefer a more of a performance car, a rotary.

I've owned many Mazda's, '81 RX7, '83 Special Edition RX7, '85 RX7, '88 10th Anniversary Edition RX7, '92 Protege, 2003 Mazdaspeed Protege and we're also putting together a '86 RX7 for the $2006 Challenge....and a new "RX-3" without a rotary would really hurt the rotary community.

I mean, I'm getting ready to sell the Mazdaspeed with the hopes of replacing it with a RX-3...but if that won't happen, I don't know. I don't really want to buy an RX8 for personal reasons.
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subject:
RX-3
author:
date:
November 9, 2005 - 11:36am
Mazda Execs,
If your reading this, please dont ruin a good thing. The brand image of Mazda is rotary. Do not let this go. It os much like Jaguar had the 2 door luxury v12. Now its gone and everyone knows they are mostly fords with new sheetmetal. That would be the car to keep me once my lease expires on my RX-8. If there is no MS RX-8 or RX-7 which I dont see happening this will force me to go to competition as I have a Mazdaspeed MX-5 already and do not like the 3rd gen Miata. I have ahad 6 Mazda's in a row so please dont make me jump ship. Have you considered offering both engine options much like the old rotary's like the courier/repu when you could get either flavor? Or is that too hard to inventory. If it is just build a 180bhp renesis with ~9.0:1 compression to run well on 87 octane and be able to be boosted. I implore you to please listen to your customers and not just try to read their minds.

Sincerly

Kyle Lancaster
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subject:
This really is too bad. This
author:
date:
November 7, 2005 - 7:04am
This really is too bad. This car is an oppurtunity for Mazda to regain an image. Right now it leans heavily on the RX-8 for recognition, and should take advantage of that and push an inexpensive, more entry level car that "has the same engine has the RX-8". Gas mileage isn't as much an issue as everyone make it, Americans drive more today than ever before, despite increasing fuel costs. In the end, few middle class high school or college students will be able to afford a Renesis powered car, not to mention anyone who wants the rotary but isn't willing to get the base RX-8.

I just bought my 2nd RX-8, and have an FC. Without a rotary, I will not be adding a new RX-3 as planned.
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subject:
We have been sold out
author:
date:
November 7, 2005 - 4:49am
It appears we have all been lead astray.

Here I was getting all excited & ready to buy my first rotary powered car "Brand new" from Mazda Australia. With Mazda Oz ripping us Aussie's of by increasing the price a massive 60% over the better equipped RX-8 in Japan I was very hopeful of being able to afford this reported "Entry level" rotary machine.

Its a real shame that its to be another little coupe that will blend into the market along with all the other little coupe's and wont have this amazing marketing tool/engine that sets it aside & stands out of the crowd. After all, the 13B-MSP is the 2003 engine of the year

If fuel consumption is the issue, simply market the engine in another way. "You have to pay for power at the pump"

If fear is the issue, simply shut down rotary production now & earn that same "bland, boring & dull" reputation that Toyota have worked hard at for years.

If sales are the issue then engineer this car for rotary & piston option like they did with the RX-3/808 series. Then at least people will have choice & enjoy the chance to prove Mazda's puppet masters are wrong about the rotary yet again.....

REgards
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subject:
Mazda has been holding back o
author:
date:
November 6, 2005 - 12:05am
Mazda has been holding back on the rotary to much. The 13b has been worked and re-worked enough. Nissan is upping the game with this new v6 twin turbo Skyline GTR, Mitsubishi is also following suite with its Evolution Lancer range its time Mazda opened the closet a little.

Mazda need to bring the 20b back into production. Show the competition what a real supercar is.

Its unbelievable they reverted to a piston engine, absolutely gutted. Don't let go of the rotor!!
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subject:
Unexpected problems with the RENESIS?
author:
date:
November 5, 2005 - 9:41pm
Mazda,

I figure that you hire very good engineers around the world and you get to work with excellent engineers as part of the Ford family. The remake... more like a rebirth, that has taken place at Mazda beginning with the Atenza/Mazda6 has been amazing. I have always been a Mazda fan since childhood and the first generation RX-7 to even the Miller Cycle Supercharger Millenia. There were some... odd-looking cars for some years there in the 90's (you can even see this design in the early RX-8 prototype predecessors). Glad you got rid of them or got them back on track. The current styling, handling and overal value of your cars is excellent.

All of that being said, it appears that you are falling into the typical corporate trap. Just because you are making a profit... doing fairly well, makes you think that you are doing things right. You figure with the numbers being returned the ship is running well and forge ahead with your plans. The obvious mistake is that you are forgetting the possiblity that things aren't going so well. That through luck or some single factor, you are getting these numbers. The reality is that you could be doing much better than you are. Mazda is a company that has much potential. As does your parent, Ford. Both companies seem to suffer from problems on the business side... management, marketing and the "bean counters."

So what does all this have to do with a 2-door sports coupe? Let me try to explain. Is this to only be a two seater? If so, there isn't that much of a market out there for you... and cars that can sell well is something you really need now. Sure there is the BMW Z4 coming up and the Porsche Cayman as well as the Audi TT. But how much do they cost? What percentage of those companies sales do those cars comprise? Better yet... the demographics for those cars is entirely different as these more affluent buyers can purchase this car as a second "weekend" car. Unfortunately Mazda is not in that position. Nor do I think a "low cost" alternative is really viable either. Presently there is the MX-5. The previous generations performed well (although there were complaints about power, particularly by Americans) and sold well. The new car outshines the old in all ways and will again sell fairly well even with the GM Kappa platform competition (which has more masculine, sporty styling to my eyes). The only 2 seater coupe that makes sense right now is to following BMW, Audi... and Porsche to a lesser extent, by making a MX-5 coupe.

So what should you be making? You should be getting back into rally racing and release a Axcela/Mazda3 based AWD rally racer. Supposedly the upcoming Mazdaspeed Axcela/3 is only going to be FWD and sport less horsepower than the Mazdaspeed Atenza/6. Even Subaru sees the folly in this approach and supposedly they are a "small, niche" manufacturer. Look at particularly their JDM line-up... everything has AWD (their trademark... yes) and just about everything has a high horsepower turbocharged engine. The Imprezza and the Legacy... even the Forrester. Frankly... even if the sedan is stiffer, the Mazdaspeed Atenza/6 should have been based on the 5 door model. It just looks better. Plain and simple. The rear spoiler, even if functional looks bad. The raised hood instead of "boy racer" hood scoops was a bad idea. It looks bulky and the view from the driver's seat is hindered by the ridiculous height of it. Lastly this car is too heavy and the engine horsepower target should have been 300hp.

A question for your marketing, management or whatever people that made the decision to sell the Premacy as the Mazda5 in the US and hold off on the new MPV. Why? Other than price, why would someone opt for the Mazda5 over a true mini-van? When all seats are in use it has virtually no storage capacity. There is no "extended" version option. Perhaps the sales of the MPV to date have been... disappointing. Fair enough. However, maybe offering the new JDM MPV as the USDM Mazda5 (with manual transmission option as well) seems to make much more sense. Maybe I'm missing something. Maybe this has something to do with the RE Hybrid Premacy shown at the Tokyo Motorshow. I still question the reasoning behind this...

So you want to compete with Scion? You've noticed how Toyota made a hit here, huh? I could have told you (and Toyota) that years ago. Bring the Demio/Mazda2 to the US to compete. Honda is looking at bringing the next generation Fit. Nissan is finally bringing the JDM Cube. What have you got? The Mazda5, obviously isn't competition. So what about the rotary? I come to this at last. Here is the perfect place to create a new generation of rotary enthusiasts. Bring the Demio to the US as the Mazda2 and market it right against Scion. Add to this a 2 door, 4 seater RENESIS powered sports coupe. The new RX-3. Powered by the 4 port RENESIS... the JDM base RX-8 setup. Platform... MX-5/RX-8 derrived. Cut costs. Engine already exists... cut costs. 200hp RENESIS, 5 speed, 2 door, 4 seater, RWD, 17" rims and price it against the Scion Tc, Chevy Cobalt SS, Saturn Ion, etc.

The RX-3 gets them into rotary cars, the RX-8 is what they get when they start their family and the 4th gen RX-7 ($40k Mustang GT500 and BMW M3 killer) is what they pickup when they've hit the "empty nest" phase of life. You've got basically a full rotary line-up from youth to mature adult. Marketing emphasizing this line-up showing all 3 cars and 3 generations of a family... Dad in a RX-7, older brother in a RX-8 and the teenage brother in a RX-3...
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subject:
Feedback
author:
date:
November 5, 2005 - 8:14pm
Please Mazda, bring back a RWD RX-3 even if it has to based on the Mazda 3 platform. We'd like to see the rotary find it's way into tuner cars in addition to sports cars.
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subject:
This is a mistake
author:
date:
November 5, 2005 - 3:29pm
Ok, this is silly, other than possibly cost, there is no good reason, if they really are going to field another sportscar, to not put a rotary in it.

With a car that weights 400+lbs less than my RX8, gas mileage and performance wouldnot be an isue with the renesis, you'd get 20mpg easily in the city.

A cheap rotary sports coupe would be a great way to introduce more peopl e to the fun of the rotary engine.
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subject:
WFTAM
author:
date:
November 5, 2005 - 2:34pm
Yet another waste of time and Money
Good on Ya Ford for hijaking a Great Concept!
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subject:
Um, why?
author:
date:
November 5, 2005 - 12:27am
Mazda just came out with a new small piston powered sports car. It's called the 3rd generation Miata. If they want to do another piston powered small sports car, do a coupe Miata. It's that simple. This car would not sell with a piston engine. As far as I'm concerned it's not even worth taking the time to test drive if it doesn't have a rotary. There are already too many small piston powered sports cars to choose from. No thanks.

Put a rotary in it and now we've got a different story. Make a little S2000 killer and you've got a deal, as long as it stays a coupe. I was told at Sevenstock by the head guy at Mazda Irvine (forgot his name) to watch for something very exciting in Detroit. If this is what he is referring to he needs to update his definition of exciting because this bores me. If it doesn't have a rotary in it, I'm not going to look at it as it isn't exciting enough.
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subject:
I think the idea of a lightwe
author:
date:
November 4, 2005 - 6:18pm
I think the idea of a lightweight RWD affordable coupe is fantastic. If it came with a rotary option I would buy one tomorrow, it would be an instant classic. If it leads to market with just a soulless 4-banger it risks attracting a cheap image. Good marques lead with the most powerful engine to build reputation.
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subject:
Mazda!!!! Come on. It has to
author:
date:
November 4, 2005 - 4:59pm
Mazda!!!! Come on. It has to be a rotary!!!!! there is no other option. I love my rotary. Let others enjoy the experience too.
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subject:
WHY?
author:
date:
November 4, 2005 - 11:48am
Why present a new coupe, in hopes of it being the new/rebirth of the legendary RX-3 and placing a piston engine? When I heard of the news of the RX-3 returning I was excited, since my FC has met its days and a new car is sure to come soon. Not wanting to side off from the one company that has the uniqueness of the rotary engine, thoughts of purchasing an RX-8 was in the future but the news of the RX-3 brought back hopes of a lower priced rotary. I've been looking into other brands but there is no car that will give me the same feeling as a rotary powered car.
Seeing the classic RX-3 brought chills/excitement. So Mazda, do not go wrong, your customers love the rotary powered vehicles you have made and making another one in a coupe and priced under the RX-8 will definitely see changes in sales for the better and your customers will love Mazda for the unique qualities it brings to their Mazdas especially with the sound of a rotary engine breathing underneath the hood.
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subject:
Because: Ford sucks and gas is expensive
author:
date:
November 4, 2005 - 9:35pm
Folks, it's real simple: Gas is expensive and only going to get more so, the rotary is inefficient and unable to overcome that fact, and Ford management is beginning to act like Ford management screw up Mazda's niche market. I'm sure you all read about the schmuck who said "We can't just keep building sports cars." What a knob. As soon as they STOP building for that niche, they are finished. Why do they still market a stinking truck!? (At least, one without a rotary! ;)

I love the rotary; I've been all rotary for ten years except for a tow vehicle. But it's tough to compete with an engine that's been under development for a hundred years longer by hundreds of companies. Dr. Wankel's vision has ony ever had a handful of companies working on it.

Here's to hoping Mazda's "management" trips on their neckties and hit their heads hard enough to knock some sense into them...

P.S. It's "losing" the rotary, not "loosing" as in letting it loose.
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subject:
Well I'll agree with ya to an
author:
date:
January 7, 2006 - 3:40pm
Well I'll agree with ya to an extent, Gas is expensive, I own an rx-8 and hell I live in SoCal, but I don't think that is truly a deciding factor. Lets take a moment and look at what the Chrysler corp is doing, their bringing back all the muscle cars, big v8's which aren't all that conservative when it comes to gas. Yet we have the 300's Magnum, Charger, now their bringing back the Challenger all Hemi powered and very thirsty, and guess what these cars are selling like hotcakes, and what about their SRT4 Neon? Discontinued which would be the most conservative vehicle on the moonshine in the SRT lineup. I am pretty sure that Mazda would love to incorporate the Renesis into many vehicles much like Nissan does with the VQ35DE (like offering a Miata with a rotary and slap a mazdaspeed badge on it for pete sake!), but again I think that politics has influenced this deciscion. Lets look at the stats, If Mazda was to produce the Rx-3 a rotary powered rwd sport compact that weighed around 2300-2500 or less, you'd have a vehicle that would that not only would blow most of cars out of the water, but would probably interefer with Ford's cars in the same category, and probably would also draw attention away from the Rx-8. Now one more bit on the fuel issue, I personally think that Mazda should try and put more R&D into the DISC setup they were working on. Not only would the rotaries get substancially better fuel economy but much more power to boot. Mazda, make the damn car a rotary, or at least offer us with both.
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subject:
somthing wrong
author:
date:
November 4, 2005 - 11:12am
there's something really wrong going on at mazda (belive me Im a 6 mazda car owner, 2 fc, 1 fd, 1 rx-2, 1 fc race car and a rx-8 )the rotary is what give mazda its identity why will you release a car and then add the rotary as an afther thoug, I as a rotary owner feel ofendet if this hapen's if you are going to release this car with a rotary engine an a piston engine do it at the same time.

theres thousants of people with old rotary cars that cant afort a rx-8 new but can buy a 18,000 to 20,000 dollar car ( I own 2 fc but keeping them running is getting really expensive they'r too old)

I really feel disapointed if you MAZDA miss this oportunity to introduce the young people to the rotary, the people that mazda needs to have brand loyalty so they can buy a 50,000 rx-7 in the future and a 40,000 929 replacement.

the concep of a 2 door ligth car with the miata engine is really good, but why not a miata coup? and how is it diferent from a scion tc or a civic si coupe? is it going to offer somethin unique? a few people will buy it to be diferent thats all, mazda should be tired of following and star leading, a rotary in the price rage of this car complety dominates.

MAZDA DONT SCREW IT UP WE ARE COUNTING ON YOU!!!!!
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subject:
Lost a sale
author:
date:
November 4, 2005 - 10:45am
Booo! Mazda just lost a sale w/no rotary in the RX-3. Too bad, might have been a good intro opportunity for a DI hybrid rotary halo car.
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subject:
boring
author:
date:
November 4, 2005 - 12:14pm
ooo how exciting, mazda releases another small car with a piston motor. *yawn* I think Ill just buy a new honda for a daily and stick to pouring copious wads of cash into my RX3.
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