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NAIAS: Mazda Answers Your Questions
Submitted by Dan Mazzella on Friday, January 13, 2006 - 10:34am

We had a good time talking to the folks at the Mazda booth at NAIAS 2006. We got quite a bit out of Mazda, but nothing on future product not shown at the booth. Below is the Q/A session we had with Moray Callum and Jeremy Barnes. They answered non-rotary questions, rotary questions, and gave us a hint at what we'd have to do to see the Kabura in production with a Rotary.
Moray graduated from Napier University, Scotland, in 1980 with Bachelors of Science in Industrial Design. He came from Ford to Mazda in 2001 as a designer, and is now an Executive Officer and General Manager of the Design Division. He has a passion for Mazda, and drives a Spirit-R RX-7!

Is the Mazda6 redesign only for those ones built here in the US? Will it stay the same in the other markets?
The Mazda6 is a global car, so the redesign is global.

What are the three new models Mazda will release this year?
CX-7? CX-9? Karuba?

(Editor’s note: The point of an auto show is to promote the things on stage and current models. No Manufacturer will ever talk about upcoming product not shown at the show)

No Comment


Was naming the crossover the 'CX-7' just a cynical attempt to trade off the sporting reputation forged by the rx-7? Does this dilution of the moniker spell the end for any future 'RX-7'?

No. For example, no one would ever confuse the MX-5 and the Mazda5. No one will ever confuse the CX-7 and the RX-7.

This brings up a good point, there is confusion on the internet about Mazda’s naming. Once and for all, this is Mazda’s nomenclature:

Core vehicles carry the name MAZDA and a number, based on vehicle size (MAZDA2, MAZDA3, MAZDA5, MAZDA6)


For Sporty cars, the first letter denotes either engine type or Segment type, followed by an X that stands for sports. For example, the RX-8 means: Rotary Sports 8, the MX-5 means piston-engine sports 5, and the all new CX-7 means Crossover Sports 7. For RX Series it has always meant Rotary Sports, we expanded on that in the 1980's to include piston sports.


(Editors note, we never want to see another fight about what RX stands for. Once and for all, from Mazda we have RX standing for Rotary Sports. Period. End of story.)

Rotary Rumors

LA23S I was wondering if the proposed entry level rotary (new RX3) had any truth to it?

We cannot Comment. But look at that copue, the Kabura

What about the RX-7?

We cannot Comment. But look at that copue, the Kabura

Is Mazda ever going to
produce an all-aluminum Renesis engine?

We cannot Comment.

What about the use of Titanium
or other light weight composite materials?

We cannot Comment.

Are various displacements of MSPRE in development, or have been tried and didn’t work out? (if they didn’t work, why?)

12A (1.1L) 2 rotor
15B(1.5L) 2 rotor
20B(2.0 L) 3 rotor
26b(2.6L) 4 rotor

We cannot Comment.

Is Mazda researching the use of direct-injection spark ignition, electrically assisted turbocharging, electric-gas hybrid Renesis all in one?

We cannot Comment.

What about Displacement on Demand? the idea of skipping combustion cycles (similar to displacement-on-demand) to further improve fuel economy and reduce emissions at low load or cruising operation?

We cannot Comment.

Can smart idle stop be integrated into this as well?

We cannot Comment.

With all these No comments, however know this, Mazda is the only vehicle maker in the world that is actively developing the Rotary Engine. With this, comes great cost. Other car companies are flooded by equipment manufactures all the time, wanting to sell the auto makers new presses for blocks, new casting machines, new this, new that.

With the Rotary, we have to do everything in house, from the design of the tools to the design of the engine.

It is very costly to produce the engines since:
A)    We must amortize the costs for the machines, research and development of the machines across all production

B)     Each engine is still built by hand. There would be a substantial investment to automate the engine building process.


Are there some tangible rewards reaped yet from the racing program?

Yes, as a matter of fact just last month at a SCCA event, two 6 speed MX-5 transmissions failed. These were shipped back to Japan to examine what went wrong. Since the transmissions were stock, no performance parts in them, there could be changes to future transmission based on the data from this event.

Another Example is the Bergenholtz team, and what they are doing with boosting our engines to insane amounts.

Is there a return on expectations on Return on Investment with the money put into the Racing Program?

No expectations, it is just something we need to do.

Why is Mazda US pushing hard to get the rotary engine strong visibility in motorsports for 2006 but displaying the new coupe as a 4-cylinder?
(only have one Rotary Engine Sports Car?)

The Kabura is just a concept. It was built out of parts of both the RX-8 and MX-5. The engine that is in there now is a stock
MX-5. It is more of a design study than an engineering concept, since many of the parts under the skin are shared with existing platforms. It is no secret that
the Rotary is expensive to build. For this concept a 4 banger is better, as we are in the business of selling cars.

With that said, we bring concept cars like this to autoshows to get a feel for how they might sell. We will take feedback from the concept, and make changes to production cars, or new cars in the line up based on the feedback. So, for example, if we received a flood of feedback on the need for a Kabura like rotary powered vehicle, we may put together a business plan
Please tell readers to go to the website and click on "contact us".

5. RX-8/Redesign

Are steps being taken to
upgrade the RX-8 performance?

There will be progressive improvements to the RENESIS and
Rotary designs.

Has the RX-8 been a monetary success for Mazda?

Yes. Every car in our lineup is a success right now.


Would more power mean more sales for the RX-8?

That is tough to answer, but we feel it is no. The RX-8 is more than the sum of its numbers. If a customer is purely concerned about the numbers, we invite them to get behind the wheel of the car, and feel what it is about.
Mazda has never been known for our horsepower numbers, what we are known for are well balanced best handling, driver centric cars.

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March 8, 2006 - 4:42pm
funny how all my questions got a "no comment"... I'm getting too close to the truth!!!! bwahahahaa
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Rotary power
February 26, 2006 - 1:14am
If Mazda made an entry levbel sports car such as the RX-3. I would buy one "new" instantly & wouldn't hesitate paying a premium over other 4cyl sportsters.....

If it was a piston powered Karuba, then my comment would be "nice car" shame it blends in with all the others out there trying to earn my dollar

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Funny Thing
January 18, 2006 - 2:55pm
I went to Japan one time to get a new Pachisuro machine tested. It was really bizarre, we were bringing the machine down from the hotel room to the lobby and our hosts from Sankyo were totally shocked that we didn't have the machine covered up. They promptly covered it up with a blanket! The Japanese have this idea that everybody is out to steal their ideas. It is no wonder to me that there are so many "no comments". What *is* a wonder to me is that they are treating their rotary heritage and soul as baggage they don't want discuss with their unimportant customers. Word to Mazda: Porsche is the most profitable car company in the world. They build a lot of two-seater, two-door sports cars... hello... Mazda????
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Where do I put my deposit??
January 15, 2006 - 11:41am
Put a Rotary in a 2seater/2door SPORTS car, and I'll put my deposit down ASAP or trade in my current gas sipper.

PS: Just make it look good also!

-GSL-SE Owner
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Quit being so NEGATIVE
January 15, 2006 - 7:22am
What is it with this community?? The fact that Mazda can not comment on any of Dan's Rotary-related questions tells ME that things are definitely in the works. This is POSITIVE news guys!!! Read the article and take the steps necessary to ensure that Mazda knows that we're passsionate and behind their efforts.

..."So, for example, if we received a flood of feedback on the need for a Kabura like rotary powered vehicle, we may put together a business plan Please tell readers to go to the website and click on "contact us".

Instead of complaining, THIS is what we should be doing. Mazda is the ONLY automotive manufacturer of rotary engine designs in the world, so we can't just go to another automotive manufacturer. If we want to see more rotary offerings we need to be more SUPPORTIVE and provide CONSTRUCTIVE feedback that lets Mazda know that they have more work to do, but that we APPRECIATE what they've done so far, and that if they continue to support rotary engined designs that we'll support them by purchasing their products. It's all really very simple. Support leads to new products and ultimately manifests itself in our future personal HAPPINESS!!

Retooling and adding capacity takes times, especially if your company has the burden of covering a majority of the cost.

Let's see how many positive posts we can get up on the Mazda.usa website in the next week. If we could get 100 or more "positive" posts asking for rotary power, I guarantee you that Mazda would pay attention!!
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How to Sell More RX-8s
January 14, 2006 - 6:37am
If only politicians were so non-committal! The last thought about RX-8 sales & power "...but we feel it is no." ...begs the question..."then how?". Someone needs to ask, and it would be revealing. What ARE good answers IMO? "We'll lighten it 300 lbs, to make it faster", "we'll introduce the Japanese B-Spec version", "we'll advertise it more (and more effectively!)", "we'll make a hybrid version".

But I'd like to hear Mazda's own ideas next time.
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January 14, 2006 - 2:40am
Why am I not surprised!!
But thanks for the effort anyway Dan
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Good Answers, but need more.
January 13, 2006 - 12:22pm
I'm happy Rotarynews asked these questions, and I'm happy that Messieurs Callum and Barnes answered what they could with fairly straight answers. So thanks to all.

However, when can we ask the other questions about future products, if not at the trade shows? Is there some other time/venue where we can ask and get reponses other than "no comment"?

Finally, I wish Rotarynews had asked why they still sell a truck, and if they must continue to have a truck, would they consider putting a rotary in it. From M.M. Callum and Barnes comments, it appears the cost of the rotary is a big issue. If they start putting it in more vehicles and increasing the volume, those costs will go down.
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January 13, 2006 - 12:57pm
I did ask them this, but it wasn't during our sit down talk.

Basically they sell it because in various markets it is a good seller. Some places in the US sell quite a few, in the rural areas (of the US, and world wide market) for instance. Other markets, dealers only sell 3 a year.

They are not going to put a Rotary in the B series.
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Those are Answers.
January 13, 2006 - 5:05pm
I may not like them, but those are straight answers. Thanks Dan.
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January 13, 2006 - 11:36am
I like that guy, good strait answers!
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