Strong demands for Mazda’s SUV will make a rotary-engined coupe more likely
The success of the all-new CX-5 SUV is crucial if Mazda is to put into production a rotary-powered sports car inspired by the RX Vision concept of 2015.
Mazda R&D boss Kiyoshi Fujiwara said there was no official update on the RX project a year on from the car’s debut at the 2015 Tokyo show, because the project is struggling for both a business case and the kind of technological breakthrough that would make rotary power viable for production again.
However, he revealed the business case aspect could be solved by the second-generation CX-5, unveiled at the LA motor show, being a success.
Fujiwara said the Mazda business was “back at its original starting point” after the company’s successful relaunch, underpinned by its innovative Skyactiv technology announced in 2011. The business has gone well since, wiping out past negatives.
“Starting with the CX-5, we will try to build robust business health from here,” Fujiwara said in LA. “Then after, if we are successful, we can build a robust business structure for the next generation [of products] and then the RX Vision will be a possibility. So the next CX-5 is important.”
The year 2020 remains a tantalising target for Mazda to launch a new rotary-powered sports car, because it coincides with the firm’s centenary.
By then, every Mazda model underpinned by the first generation of Skyactiv tech will have been replaced.
All Mazdas will switch to the second generation of Skyactiv.
Fujiwara says this will improve the efficiency of its models by 50%. Key to that will be the use of ultra-efficient homogenous compression technology in its engines, which will be seen in production by 2018-2019.
While Mazda continues to develop core technologies, Fujiwara confirmed there was a small team devoted to developing rotary technology.