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Mazda Kabura Concept at NAIAS: "This one isn't Rotary"
Submitted by Dan Mazzella on Sunday, January 8, 2006 - 3:24pm

Day one of the North American International Autoshow (NAIAS) brought us the unveiling of the long awaited Mazda Kabura, a 3+1 seat piston powered concept coupe. The concept shown at the autoshow is not rotary powered, but the comment from Maury Callam was "this one isn't rotary powered." Mazda needs to make a business case for making this car in a rotary powered version, and it won't happen without your input. Take a look at our day-one photo gallery of the Mazda Press Conference and booth, (Click here) then leave your feedback. There needs to be a flood of messages, even if the message is short, it will count.

We will have more coverage of the Detroit Autoshow tomorrow, including more technical information on the Kabura. Click through to see images from today.







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subject:
Rotary please
author:
date:
January 10, 2006 - 8:38pm
Please offer the rotary engine in the Kabura. The rotary is what makes Mazda cars unique. I have had rotarys for more than 30 years, starting with a RX3 in 1973, followed by 3 RX7's and now the RX8. Without a rotary the Kabura will just be another car.
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subject:
Piston Rx8???
author:
date:
January 10, 2006 - 8:13pm
I love rotaries and I think that the Rx8 is a great car. I certainly do not think that a new Rx7 should look anything like an Rx8 though. Give us Rx7 guys a break. We have been hearing about those weird fenders for a couple of years now. The Rx7 was a beautifully styled car. It never featured edgy styling and I don't think that it ever should. The Rx8 and cars like it do well with that kind of styling. The Toyota Celica is another example or a sucessfull car that uses edgy styling. Those cars however make sacrafices that an Rx7 should not. For example the Rx8 has a back seat, backward opening rear doors and a roof line that doesn't slope down much so that it can better accomodate rear passengers . Thats great! It helps us sell to a segment that wants to be able to carry the kids to school or go out with friends. Its a much more practical car than the Rx7 ever was. The Toyota Celica too has a back seat and a roof line to match. The Celica even gave up rear wheel drive decades ago. No big deal for someone who needs a practical and fun car that gets great gas mileage!

An Rx7 needs to be a more dedicated sports car. You want to put people in the back? Fine. Offer a 2+2. Maybe it will be a little tight but thats ok. Its a sports car. You don't want to pay the big bucks for the turbo model? Get the N/A version. Not all sports cars have to be super fast. The first generation Rx7 was and the Mx5 still is proof of that.

You need a car that will sell. Not another 3rd gen. The 3rd gen was a beautifull car but it was too expensive and too impractical. The first gen was a great car too and it sold great! It would be a fantastic sales generator for Mazda today if it weren't for the Miata already taking its place. And again the Rx8 is fun and practicall... but weird looking. We don't need a weird looking Rx8 derived Rx7. We need Styling that matches or surpasses that of the 3rd gen Rx7 and one that offers the flexability in options of the 2nd gen. That will sell for sure!

I can understand the desire to use Rx8 parts or atleast the Rx8 assembly line or assembly techniques in the Rx7. But please don't use so much of the styling. The Mx5 uses a lot of parts that are similar to those in the Rx8 and it works great dispite hanging on to the styling. But steer away from that styling a bit more with the Rx7. Putting it on the Mx5 was pushing it enough.

Oh and if you're thinking of putting a piston engine in that thing, forget about it. Do you remember the 808? How about the 618? No? Neither does any one else. Thats because no one liked them. We don't need to learn that lesson twice.
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subject:
Rotary
author:
date:
January 10, 2006 - 4:42pm
What you have before you is a potential Rx-3. A small enrty level rotary (we are not talking horsepower out the wazoo) but a small rotary powered car like the old RX-3. This could be your chance to start really marketing the rotary engine and using it as a marketing device along with rear wheel drive alowing it to potentially dominate the entry level much like the MX-5(previously the miata) has done for so long. Prove to the public that it is indeed a fantastic engine. We enthusiests already know this fact and an entry level rotary is just what is needed to boost the image of the rotary and expand the rotary to a wider audience. Its a winning combonation. In short, throw a rotary in it and badge it the RX-3 end of story!
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subject:
New kabura
author:
date:
January 10, 2006 - 3:20pm
There is no more distinctive feature of Mazda than its rotary heritage. It was Mazda who pioneered the rotary into mass production viability. It was Mazda who then demonstrated the rotary's potential in the 3rd Gen RX-7. Yet, it is unclear the direction Mazda has chosen with its latest rendering, unless it is expected to house a performance rotary engine. The Kabura has styling cues closely aligned to the RX-8, yet pre-production indications are that it will carry a reciprocating engine. The MX-5 already occupies the sporty car segment with a peppy in-line 4. So what market does the Kabura aim to fit?

I would suggest that the Kabura (rebadged the Kabura RX-7, if you like) could be a flagship car for Mazda ala the Corvette ZO6, the Porsche 911 and/or Dodge Viper. And yet, the only way for this car to achieve such legendary status is to mate it with a performance rotary. I should think that a 20B NA would make this a very capable contender in this class and carry with it world beating reliability in the performance segment. We already expect the car to be a superior handling car as it is a Mazda afterall, another characteristic upon which Mazda has built a strong reputation.

Thus, if Mazda intends to make a footprint in the sand, let it be an unambiguous rotary footprint. And do not feel restrained to price the car accordingly. There is no reason a performance car this capable cannot command a $40,000 to $50,000 purchase price.
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subject:
Make it a 12B RENISIS
author:
date:
January 10, 2006 - 2:46pm
Make it a 12B RENISIS, a cheaper priced car than the RX-8...therefore no marketing conflicts......and call it an RX-6.

The Kabura has no appeal as a piston engine vehicle.....
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subject:
Make it a 12B RENISIS
author:
date:
January 11, 2006 - 2:33am
Excellent suggestion!
But the name RX6 is a No No in Japanese
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subject:
Name
author:
date:
January 11, 2006 - 2:17pm
... I also like the idea of the 12B Reneisis of being placed in the car, but what about the name Mazda Seven? Stays away from the RX name brand for a new generation of cars. They can always name it the Mazda Seven (Rx-7), similar idea with the miata.
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subject:
Kabura
author:
date:
January 10, 2006 - 11:27am
I think that the Kabura has a lot of potential. I think that part of that potential is for a rotary engine. Another idea would be to slip the direct-inject motor from the new mazdaspeed6 in there...that would be almost as exciting as a rotary...but not quite ;)
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subject:
I wanted to say a bit more...
author:
date:
January 10, 2006 - 10:12am
I like it's look and I think the final version will actually look better, more sexy-normal...then sexy-crazy...lol.

I really like the clear tinted window for the engine but remember, who want's to show off a weak engine. So....if this thing is going to weigh 2500 pounds then either or both (how I would prefer it):

2.3L I4 180HP

or

1L Rotary making the same HP (180)

Like that, the customer could pick their poison and Mazda could bring in the most customers. They should make it initially just with the I4 (more sales this way) and then come with a special edition rotary powered one later in the year.

Also, I think 20-25K is too much and it should be priced more like 16-19K to better compete with those other little cars. What will make this car special is that it will be RWD, have the Mazda Zoom factor, and be inexpensive.

Also, forget the 3+1 and just make it a normal 2+2. The reason for seats is for people to sit in them, not dogs...so who cares about seats that are useless. As you all know, I really dislike having rear seats that are useless and that was one of the strong selling points of my RX8. Many things sold me on the RX8, but since I was going to start a family soon a huge selling point was the use of the rear seats.

I think Mazda would be dumb to ignore the young people who want a fun, quick, sexy car that can hold some of their stuff with techno goodies. Get someone young enough to fall in love with your car (price, quality, fun factor, performance, utility) and you will gain a life long customer.

So, I'd say call this thing the Kabura with the initial engine their I4...and then come out with a Kabura RX-3 with a small rotary to gain even more buyers. One car...two versions, HUGE SALES!!!

Like you all, there are some style issues with this car but I think the idea behind the car is solid. RSX, tC, Civic Si, etc...all would be chumps next to a RWD Mazda coupe.







Waiting for 3-rotor heaven...
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subject:
Rotary in the current market
author:
date:
January 10, 2006 - 9:37am
I think there are many advantages to marketing this car as both a piston and rotor powered sports coupe. Sports coupes are making a resurgence into the car market, with the new civic and SI, scion tC, the upcoming new GT-R (and already very popular 350z/G35), dodge charger, rumors of a new camaro, as well as hard-top versions of the BMW Z4, Merc-Benz SLK, and the Porsche Cayman. Sure, the last three will be a bit more expensive, but they still show that the market does exist and that there is money to be made there.
Offering this striking car with a rotary option would offer many benefits for mazda. The rotary engine has always been a big part of mazda's heritage, essential to the sporting image of the brand. Without it, mazda could just become another sub-brand of Ford, offering badge-engineered cars (mazda 3, all recent pickups, the tribute, etc) instead of new, innovative, exciting products. Mazda claims to build "the soul of a sports car" into all it's products, but doesnt actually build a sports car that can compete with the big names such as Porsche and Ferrari. Sure the MX-5 is a great little car, especially the new one, and it certainly has the "driving purity" sought after, but it does not serve as a halo car in the way the RX-7 once did. The RX-8 is also a very good car, very well balanced, but it is trying to be too many things at once to compete with supercars, and is lacking in power when compared even to the cars it competes with now (3 series, G35/350Z, mustang etc). During the japanese supercar boom of the early 90's, the rotary engine and FD RX-7 were successfully able to compete with the likes of the skyline GT-R, 300zx twin turbo, supra tt, 3000GT and NSX, even with less power, by being lighter, more compact, and with better balance and handling. This is a successful formula that can once again be applied. By giving this car rotary power (and hopefully more of it than the RX-8 has), it can be a real contender, not just an also ran, and would be the perfect garage companion for my aging 88 RX-7

Plus, if both engines were offered, it would provide tuners and those wanting more out of their mazda 3's, 6's and MX-5's a place to start with rotary swaps... if the factory itself could do that, it would certainly recall the days of the RX-2,3, and 4's.

Do it Mazda, please!!!
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subject:
A car with no direction.
author:
date:
January 10, 2006 - 9:16am
What is this car for? If it is to go against the Scion tc,Honda Civic,and Nissan Sentra then doesn't Mazda have the Mazda 3 for that? If this is for that, then it should be displayed with the 3 at every show,Talk about a tc,civic,sentra killer! Then it should be something like an R100 or RX-3, AN ENTRY LEVEL SPORTS CAR,and have the REnesis (or as an option). A 170hp 4cyl is not going to do any good against a 200hp civic Si. It needs to weigth less than the competition.
This looks more like a Sport car,RX-7 ish concept because that is the only other market place for a car like this. Mazda needs to offer an RE with this car as an option. This cannot be an RX-7 concept, the design of the car emphasizes "piston engine" with its high rise hood. Compare the RX-7 and RX-8 hood line with this Kabura and it is clear this is no RX-7.
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subject:
RX-7
author:
date:
January 10, 2006 - 9:04am
How long since Mazda's flagship RX-7? 10 (or is that 11) years without a flagship? Ford got it right with their Mustang, Dodge screwed the pooch with their 4-door Charger. Chevy has blown their Camaro out of the water - GM is gonna go bankrupt. Now Dodge is finally getting their act together with a new two-door Challenger. I've gone the Corvette and Porsche route and it will take a really good lightweight rotary-powered two-door RX-7 to bring me back. I liked my '94 R2 better than the '99 Corvette (too heavy) but the Porsche is a good substitute. At this rate I'll be too old to drive before Mazda offers me another RX-7. Think 2-doors, light weight, sporty looks and rotary power - please!
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subject:
An new rotary option is needed
author:
date:
January 10, 2006 - 8:23am
I have a new driver in the house, and he would go for this car as a new rotary engine coupe.

But failing that we will build an old RX-7...

Come on Mazda! I would prefer having my kid drive a rotary with modern safety equiment!!

Jeff
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subject:
Give us Both Engines!
author:
date:
January 10, 2006 - 7:31am
As an owner of three Rx7s I don’t understand why Mazda would not want to capitalize on the Rotary Enthusiasm. Offer two different engines in the car, just like the 70s. Have the 2.0L engine for Piston People and the 1.3L Rotary for the Rotary People. That would give better fuel economy numbers with the piston engine, but more excitement with the rotary engine. It would also enable to car to reach as many enthusiasts as possible. Some people don’t like the rotary engine, and would prefer a piston engine. However, there are also a lot of enthusiasts that will only consider the car if it has the rotary engine. Being the only Manufacture of the Rotary Engine, it would only make sense to exploit this advantage and do something that no other car company has the ability to do.
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subject:
It's time for some choice in the rotary market.
author:
date:
January 10, 2006 - 6:57am
As a recent college grad/new engineer, I've been looking into the car market for my next vehicle. Right now, I'm driving an 86 Rx-7 and a 91 Miata MX-5. My next vehicle will definately be a Mazda, but I'm sort of torn. I'm rather loyal to the rotor, as we have a first generation rx-7 in the family as well, but I love the two-seater. The Rx-8 and Miata each only hit on one of these problems a piece. It would be great to find an affordable 2-seater rotary driven vehicle. If it's going to be availible within a year, I will definately be looking into it.
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subject:
Kabura's future
author:
date:
January 10, 2006 - 6:40am
The Kabura is a interesting study in automotive design. While a perspex hood would never make it to production it does show that Mazda has interest in the younger markets. Ones that might not catch the association with the RX-3. My feeling is that this car would make a nice entry-level rotary powered car with the RX-8 filling the suburban child hauling segment with the RX-7's successor as the ultimate bargin sportscar/supercar just as the 1st and 3rd generation RX-7s did so well.


Tim Schuh
D-FW RX-7 Club
President
http://www.dfw-rx7.com
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subject:
Build it and you will have a winner
author:
date:
January 10, 2006 - 5:25am
Mazda just look at the Civic Si, the Scion tC, and the up and coming Nissan and you will see that the little quick car market (while the Scion is more little than quick) should not be ignored.

If you build a RX3 I would suggest the following to make it unique and have a great seller in your hands:

RWD
Rotary powered
Fully equipped it should not go past 19K, probably start at 15K

That’s just the basics, but it’s time the rotary engine expands into more cars than the current RX8. It’s time we see major growth in the rotary engine that we have all grown to love.

Note: Please please please…find us RX8 owners another 50HP…that would make your great car even better. Your RX8 has made me a rotary lover and it would be a shame if your company pushes your rotary heritage out the window. The rotary is a great engine in need of alot more research and development. I don't think the fuel economy would be that bad if you had better gearing in the RX8 but I hope the direct injection and 1.5L rotary rumors come true, while I'd rather see a NA 3-rotor making 330HP.
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subject:
Put in a boosted rotary and call it a 7
author:
date:
January 10, 2006 - 5:01am
I currently own a 2nd gen & 3rd gen RX-7 and have been waiting patiently for a 4th gen. I've grown so tired of waiting that I've started to entertain, dare I say it, Porsches.

Build it and we will come.....
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subject:
Stuff a rotary in it!!!!!!!!!!
author:
date:
January 10, 2006 - 4:14am
I am going to just tell you put a rotary in it!
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subject:
Rotary Kabura?
author:
date:
January 9, 2006 - 10:48pm
I strongly feel this should be an option for the upcoming concept. It will easily broaden the customer base and increase sales. In the end that's whats it's all about right? We rotary die-hards long for an affordable smallish rwd rotary coupe. It's a win win situation for both Mazda and it's consumers.
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subject:
Rotary Engine YES!
author:
date:
January 9, 2006 - 9:38pm
Hello all!

As I mentioned on this board earlier when the RX-Evolv was debuting, yes please manufacture this vehicle with a rotary engine (even if only as an option). I still believe a 1st gen RX-7 type (economic/cheap) which will compete against the Integra/Civic/RSX/Sentra/Corolla/Neon is the way to go! As others have mentioned, unless the Kabura has a rotary engine, there is not much for me to look into this vehicle, besides it being 'just another new vehicle out.' -- I.E. Mazda3. FWIW/FYI, the Rotary Engine is what mostly attracts my friends/the public IMHO(all who drive other manufacture vehicles) to consider and regard Mazda vehicles with a bit of optimistic curiousity.

As a current owner of both the 3rd gen RX-7 and RX-8(fionce's), I am in the market for a cheap and 'modify friendly' rotary vehicle to take over for my daily driver Honda Accord (when the FD is out being 'maintained' =) ).

Thanks for your time, and please do consider offering a Rotary Engine option for the Kabura.

Goodbye!
Edgardo
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subject:
No rotary? As if! The styli
author:
date:
January 9, 2006 - 8:59pm
No rotary? As if! The styling is a slam dunk, and perfect for a rotary. I just don't buy into this whole "no rotary without feedback" PR stunt! But hey, it worked...I never would have posted this message otherwise :)

I have 3 years left on my Mazda 3 lease and if this thing is sitting on the dealership floor at that time, I'll be sliding out of the driver's seat of one Mazda, and into the seat of another.

But this is a Mazda sports coupe, so no rotary, no sale! My other car, a 1991 RX-7 Coupe, would never forgive me!
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subject:
This car begs for a rotary
author:
date:
January 9, 2006 - 8:51pm
Why is Mazda the only company that forsakes its heritage? The company that was made famous by the rotary now refuses to use it. Put a Renesis in the Kabura! Its high time a new generation of car owners get to experience and fall in love with the rotary engine in the type of chassis it was meant for. RX series owners are incredibly loyal, reward them for it!

I for one, will not buy a piston powered Mazda, and there are many more like me out there.
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subject:
Mazda! Mo' Rotors!
author:
date:
January 9, 2006 - 8:43pm
Current RX8 owner here. Don't make me go buy a 10 year old RX7! We need fresh rotary-powered production cars. Hybrids are not bad but, what about a hardcore, performance oriented coupe?!!
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subject:
Kabura needs a rotary
author:
date:
January 9, 2006 - 8:38pm
Comon Mazda stay true to your heritage of innovation. This car is sleek, sexy, and probably the closest thing to an exotic car that I could ever own. If it has a rotary engine and is available in white then I see one in my driveway in the near future.
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