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2007 R^3 (Rotary Rumors Roundup)
Submitted by Dan Mazzella on Monday, December 31, 2007 - 10:43am

There are a ton of rumors going around lately. We have a somewhat unique perspective on the rotary world, so lets go through the RX-9, Kabura, RX-7, RX-8, 16X and Furai rumors.

RX-9/Kabura The Winding Road rendered what they though the RX-9 would look like. This rendering is based on the Kabura, and is what they think the next RX-Coupe would look like, based on conversations with Mazda execs, designers and engineers. We agree to a certain point. However, the bean-counters have a huge grip on what Mazda produces. In the 1970's the engineers and designers basically had free reign, and produced what they wanted. These days, committees, design reviewers, and MBA Finance types have more say in future product than the engineers. If it can't make money, it won't be produced.

RX-7 There is a every growing camp within Mazda that wants a true 2-door hard-roof Rotary powered sports car to be sold. If the RX-7 were to return it would need a firm business case that the car could make money for Mazda, much more than just internet "I'd buy it" postings.

RX-8 The major-minor change will be unveiled at Detroit next month. Mostly cosmetic, the 16x will NOT be part of the change. There were rumors of the 16X testing in the US. These appear not to be true.

16X This future engine has gone through 5 years of development, but it isn't quite ready for a production car. It could be 3+ years before there is a platform ready for the engine. Expect to see this in the next generation, fully redesigned car, not the major-minor change that the 2009 RX-8 is going through.

Furai This thing is just wild. It was conceived as a halo-car, something that marketing can use to point at and say: "we know how to go fast around a track." We will find out more about Mazda's plans for this, however judging on the reaction of the automotive press, websites, and rotary community, Mazda would be foolish not to put something like this into production, all be it, in a less radical form.

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January 2, 2008 - 8:37am
If the 16X is 3+ years away, why show it in 2007? A concept car is one thing and serves a variety of purposes, but a concept engine? If it's an experimental engine (like a hydrogen rotary), then fine. But a "regular" engine?

"Look at the new engine we may or may not make available in several years from now!"

I really hope you are wrong about this!
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True, Furai would be foolish.
December 31, 2007 - 5:20pm
yeah, if it costs them millions of dollars to produce the furai, even if it were in limited production it would not pay for itself, or generate revenue.
its definitely smarter to build a new and improved, lighter and faster affordable rx7. rather than an over priced, sold in small amounts, and in low demand supercar. they can throw that 3 rotor in the new rx7 though.

3+ plus years for the 16x is good, (all though it seems far off) because this change in tide for the money market will likely settle. by then, a nitch for an rx7 will be a clear, "go", or a "no go". right now auto makers are horse power crazy like its going out of style (or going green sooner than expected.)
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Rotary Dispair
December 31, 2007 - 2:57pm
The Furai is so hot hot hot - Mazda would be crazy NOT to capitalize on it. If Nissan can build a business case for a super car that looks as lame as the GT-R, Mazda certainly can do it with a Martian-lander stealth 3-rotor rocket! Heck, lots of vehicles can cost $40-80K nowadays, so higher pricing isn't the issue it was years ago.

mazda will never tap the money waiting in the upper$$ sports market by living in Toyota-land forever.

Sadly, if the major/minor RX-8 update you mention truly DOESN'T include some significant power this SPRING after 5 looooooooong years of absolutely no significant changes AT ALL!! -- then Mazda will create a train wreck for the rotary lineage with this car....the market has moved...a lot... the car needs MIN 20% more power NOW and even more sooner not later. Cosmetic spifs, colors and fenders alone won't do it IMHO anymore.

Bottom line, I hope some of your predictions are pretty much not right. A couple weeks will tell.
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No money-losers!
January 10, 2008 - 8:31am
If Nissan can build a business case for a super car that looks as lame as the GT-R, Mazda certainly can do it with a Martian-lander stealth 3-rotor rocket!

Nissan is going to lose money on the GT-R. They knew that going in. It's a halo car for the sole purpose of bragging rights. It was sold to Management as a marketing expense to make Nissan the name to have and to show that their engineering prowess. Mazda doesn't have that kind of money or engineering resources to piss away.

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Furai WOULD be foolish
December 31, 2007 - 2:36pm
I think the Furai is super hot and sexy, but Mazda would be FOOLISH to build it. It will take millions of dollars to engineer and produce as a production car, and they would never likely sell enough to break even. We should all remember that's what killed the last two-seat rotary-powered "halo" Mazda supercar, and almost killed Mazda as well! Let's not encourage them to repeat that mistake!

Let's do encourage them to go back to their most successful rotary vehicle ever: Lightweight, affordable, two-seat, rear-drive, fixed-head, FUN TO DRIVE!

A single misstep from Mazda will kill the rotary for good. Thank heavens the RX-8 is a success.
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