Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com
June 29, 2012
Last Friday was a sad day for Mazda. That was when the final 13B Renesis Rotary engine rolled off assembly line in Hiroshima, ending a fifty year affair.
Mazda first licensed the design for the rotary engine (also known as a Wankel engine) in 1961, with the Cosmo sports car being the first model to use a rotary in 1967. From there, the rotary engine would be used in a series of cars, including the RX-7 and RX-8 sports cars.
However, the times are changing. The RX-8 can’t hold a flame to the current crop of sports cars in fuel economy, and failed to meet the European Union’s Euro 5 emissions regulations, excluding it from sale in Europe. Also, sales of the RX-8 have been falling. In 2004, Mazda sold about 24,000 RX-8s. This past year, Mazda only sold 2,896 RX-8s.
There is some hope for those who are a fan of the rotary.
“While the majority of the company’s engineering resources are focused on the development of our revolutionary Sky Activ technology, work does continue on the next-generation rotary,” Mazda told Autocar. .“Additionally, work continues on the use of fuels other than gasoline, taking advantage of the rotary’s unique ability to operate on multiple fuels without extensive reengineering.”
William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.