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Old 08-22-2011, 05:27 PM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default Mazda halts production of the RX-8 rotary-engine sports car


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Mazda Motor Corp. has canceled production of its RX-8 rotary engine sports car, citing falling sales and stringent global emissions standards.

Production in Hiroshima, Japan, ended in early July and global sales of the car will conclude later this year.

The RX-8 and the three generations of the RX-7 that preceded it have long been the foundation the brand's fun-to-drive aura. The car's high-revving 1.3-liter, twin-rotor rotary engine produces 232 hp at 8,500 rpm--a big punch in a relatively small package.

But Mazda sold just 1,134 RX-8s last year, a 49 percent decline from 2009. Sales through July this year were down another 21 percent.

The RX-8, which has a base price of $27,590, including shipping, peaked at 23,690 sales in 2004. But the first-generation RX-7 surpassed 50,000 units throughout the early 1980s.

Mazda's U.S. dealers had 300 units in stock as of Aug. 1 for a 118-day supply, according to the Automotive News Data Center.

Mazda pulled the RX-8 from the European market last year after the car failed to meet local emissions standards. Without volume from Europe, Mazda couldn't justify selling the RX-8, a Mazda source said.

Exporting vehicles from Japan also has become more difficult. The yen's rise vs. the dollar was a major reason why Mazda's North American operating losses from April through June grew nearly threefold to 7.9 billion, or about $97.6 million, from the same quarter last year.

This isn't the first time that Mazda has dropped its rotary engine sports car from the U.S. lineup. The RX-7 was pulled after the 1995 model year. A rotary-powered car didn't return to American showrooms until the 2003 introduction of the RX-8.

And the RX-8's demise may not be the end of the rotary engine at Mazda. A source says engineers in Hiroshima are still working on the next generation, 1.6-liter rotary engine, code-named 16X, that is said to have lower emissions, better fuel economy and more power.

When unveiled at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show, the 16X had an enlarged elliptical shape for the combustion chamber and an enlarged eccentric center stroke in the rotor. Mazda also planned direct-injection fuel delivery in a rotary engine for the first time.

But the 16X project has been on the back burner since the financial crisis. The company chose to focus its r&d resources on its fuel-saving SkyActiv technologies that debut later this year.

Still, Jim O'Sullivan, CEO of Mazda North American Operations, said "the rotary is alive and well within Mazda." While declining to comment on the progress of the 16X, O'Sullivan said: "We are studying what's the best way to come back to the market with the rotary."
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Old 08-22-2011, 06:19 PM   #2
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YAY! Die!
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Old 08-22-2011, 06:23 PM   #3
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YAY! Die!
Oh come on, no reason to be so happy about its death. Although, yeah, this was inevitable.
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Old 08-22-2011, 06:27 PM   #4
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the dorito has been eaten!
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Old 08-22-2011, 06:49 PM   #5
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Hmn kinda sad.

A cool car in so many ways, but meh power and worse than meh fuel economy are just not acceptable in the year of 2011.

Dear mazda: same car with a piston engine please, just as most everybody in the world opines
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Old 08-22-2011, 07:39 PM   #6
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Hmn kinda sad.

A cool car in so many ways, but meh power and worse than meh fuel economy are just not acceptable in the year of 2011.

Dear mazda: same car with a piston engine please, just as most everybody in the world opines
The advantage of the rotary is nothing else (the flat 4 comes closest I think) allows a car designer to pack mass low and towards the center of the car like the rotary. It's a key reason why RX7s and RX8s handle so well, right out of the box (though having a company like Mazda keep 'fun to drive' as a company mantra doesn't hurt).

Personally, I'm surprised the RX8 lasted so many years, and through a nasty recession no less. From a strictly business perspective, I'd likely have ended production a couple years back myself; there's no way that the RX8 was profitable in the numbers it was selling in the last few years. I'd like to think Mazda kept it around simply to keep 'fun to drive' in its product lineup as long as possible, and for that, I tip my hat to them.
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Old 08-22-2011, 09:00 PM   #7
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Good riddance. If you come back, bring some displacemnt and a turbo with you.
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Old 08-22-2011, 09:45 PM   #8
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that's all it needed - a turbo!
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Old 08-22-2011, 09:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hites View Post
YAY! Die!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brahmzy View Post
Good riddance. If you come back, bring some displacemnt and a turbo with you.
Right. Because we need fewer affordable, fun-to-drive cars from which to choose.

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Old 08-22-2011, 10:35 PM   #10
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But when the car is already as old as it is and getting slapped around by the Mustang V-6, WRX and even the Mazdaspeed 3 on a track (i.e. Lightning Lap), it's time to make some changes.

There are plenty of other cars available that are faster in basically every way while getting better gas mileage and costing the same or less while still being pretty fun to drive. Great balance can only get you so far, and it was a tough enough sale back then.
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Old 08-22-2011, 11:10 PM   #11
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Considering Mitsubishi is turning the Evo into a "Hybrid/economic sports car" and now this, the world of tuner inports is looking like it will see dark years ahead.
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Old 08-22-2011, 11:57 PM   #12
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I can't say I am surprised, but I just REALLY hope it isn't it for the rotary engine.

RX8 was a limbo car, between two worlds. not fully practical like a sport sedan and such, nor not fully light weight and truly gorgeous like a sports car.

I am still jonesin' for a mid-engined rotary sports car. Something akin to a Lotus that I can fit in, with a high-RPM, high specific output, and low-weight and good mass centralization.

The Mazda Furai is still an awesome concept, even without considering it's swoopy skin.


As big a boxer fanatic as I am... for a dedicated track car, that sees no real traffic-slogging day to day, if I were to build a FactoryFive 818 kind of car like that, I would put a rotary and a Porsche transaxle in that sort of a car. Not that the Subaru boxer is a bad choice for it at all... but a rotary as a sport/race engine is very hard to beat on technical merits, and the practical limitations fade far into the background by not being a daily stop-and-go slogger, and worried about every-day fuel mileage.

Last edited by HipToBeSquare; 08-23-2011 at 12:03 AM.
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Old 08-23-2011, 12:57 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Brahmzy View Post
Good riddance. If you come back, bring some displacemnt and a turbo with you.


Would I have bought a RX-8? Hell no.

Is the automotive world poorer now that the only mass-produced car under $100k without cylinders is the Nissan Leaf? Yes.
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Old 08-23-2011, 03:25 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeeezNuuuts83 View Post
But when the car is already as old as it is and getting slapped around by the Mustang V-6, WRX and even the Mazdaspeed 3 on a track (i.e. Lightning Lap), it's time to make some changes.
You mean C&D's track comparison at VIR? It's a huge track with significant elevation changes that naturally favors high HP cars. The fact that the RX8 R3 was within a fraction of a second of cars with 30-40 more hp on a fast track like VIR speaks volumes. Put all those same cars on the Streets of Willow and you'll get a completely different set of results.

Having said that, it has been around 8 years since it hit the streets, and I agree, it's time for a successor (though, to be honest, I'm more interested in Mazda making it even lighter, than more hp... though more of that wouldn't hurt of course).
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Old 08-23-2011, 08:04 AM   #15
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I know it's not this simple, but this RWD suicide rear door sports coupe with the mazdaspeed 3's engine would have sold like crazy, with more power and better fuel economy, and probably only a tiny tradeoff in handling.
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Old 08-23-2011, 09:59 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dclin View Post
The advantage of the rotary is nothing else (the flat 4 comes closest I think) allows a car designer to pack mass low and towards the center of the car like the rotary. It's a key reason why RX7s and RX8s handle so well, right out of the box (though having a company like Mazda keep 'fun to drive' as a company mantra doesn't hurt).
.
I get it, but there are too many other compromiseses to make it worthwhile.

Its a shame its a really neat 4 door chasis, wishbones and space for big tires. I wonder if the v6 from the mustang will fit under the hoodline. Time for mazda to do some partsbin engineering from thier corporate partners.

I apreciate thier dedication to rotard purists. It is amazing actually, but misguided. Even porsche ditched the air cooled motor more than a decade ago.
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Old 08-23-2011, 10:15 AM   #17
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This has been expected for the past two years. I doesn't meet European emission regs and has been out for 9 model years. Most sportscars without a significant remodel in that time frame die as well (S2000). No surprise and without a significant change in the engine no reason to keep it as it's not competitive with what is currently on the market.

Hopefully they will build a good replacement for it MX or RX whatever works best. I loved the chasis and design not specifically the engine when I owned one. Slap a Porsche flat 6 in the front and it would be a beast.
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Old 08-23-2011, 10:30 AM   #18
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or a subaru turbo 4?
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Old 08-23-2011, 10:41 AM   #19
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Rotary haters, they are great little motors with a turbo on them but useless without.
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Old 08-23-2011, 10:42 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aschen View Post
I get it, but there are too many other compromiseses to make it worthwhile.

Its a shame its a really neat 4 door chasis, wishbones and space for big tires. I wonder if the v6 from the mustang will fit under the hoodline.
Why the v6??



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Originally Posted by aschen View Post
Time for mazda to do some partsbin engineering from thier corporate partners.
Mazda bought back most of Ford's shares in 2008.
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Old 08-23-2011, 11:24 AM   #21
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^ heart. How LSx? hard is that swap? Used rx8s are dirt cheap.


I though mazda and ford had mostly parted ways, but they still seem to share some stuff. M 2 and fiesta are same platforms right?
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Old 08-23-2011, 11:30 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aschen View Post
I get it, but there are too many other compromiseses to make it worthwhile.

Its a shame its a really neat 4 door chasis, wishbones and space for big tires. I wonder if the v6 from the mustang will fit under the hoodline. Time for mazda to do some partsbin engineering from thier corporate partners.

I apreciate thier dedication to rotard purists. It is amazing actually, but misguided. Even porsche ditched the air cooled motor more than a decade ago.
LOL, I would hardly consider myself a 'purist'. I could say the same thing about AWD fanboi's, because there are plenty of them around here. But just like AWD, the rotary has its place in specific applications. Is it any more misguided than spending the money on an AWD car to drive around Houston (or a convertible - you and I both know what the weather is like here)?

As I've stated before in other posts, I can count more things I don't like about the rotary than I do, and I was kitty's hair away from actually doing a LSx swap myself (at the point where I was actually on the phone ordering a LS1 from Dallas 5 years ago), but when it comes to application in a light weight, fun to drive car, the rotary really shines.

People really, really don't get how tiny it is, and how it can be packaged into a car. Keep in mind the alternator sits basically in front of and above the block, where all the mass is. This is an FD of course, but remove the custom twin turbos and replace the upper intake manifold with a composite one, and you have the size of the Renesis. In a traditional piston engine, you'd still have the valve train, heads, etc sitting where the intake manifold is.





http://www.rx7club.com/showpost.php?...postcount=2107

I'd bet the engineers could push a NA rotary (without turbos hanging off the side, etc) further back under the firewall if they got creative.

To be honest, the only place I see a rotary being properly utilized is in a Miata or 1st gen RX7 sized, RWD sports car, weighing 2500lbs or so. Considering that reports are saying they've got the 16x to make around 275hp with around 20% improved economy - coupled with the lighter chassis - the main drawbacks of the rotary should be considerably lessened. Lucky for me, this is exactly the kind of car I'm waiting for.
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Old 08-23-2011, 11:40 AM   #23
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I do get how tiny it is. It is a neat engine. Tone is hard to tell on the web, but I am actually a fan of the rx8. I apreciate Mazda's dedication to what in my eyes isnt the greatest idea. I use the term rotard semi affectionately.

I am a purist. I drive an elise. It is a terrible awful little car to live with. I put up with its shortcomings and actually celebrate them. I can put up with idosycracies for a car I consider neat. In many ways I am in the target demographic for an rx8. I would never buy one though. Reliability and fuel economy are 2 areas where it is hard to make such drastic compromises in todays climate.

Convertables in houston can be tough but 2 of my 3 cars dont have AC! Well I recently fixed AC in the tiny plastic car but it is still pretty terible.
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Old 08-23-2011, 11:51 AM   #24
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Quote:
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I do get how tiny it is. It is a neat engine. Tone is hard to tell on the web, but I am actually a fan of the rx8. I apreciate Mazda's dedication to what in my eyes isnt the greatest idea. I use the term rotard semi affectionately.

I am a purist. I drive an elise. It is a terrible awful little car to live with. I put up with its shortcomings and actually celebrate them. I can put up with idosycracies for a car I consider neat. In many ways I am in the target demographic for an rx8. I would never buy one though. Reliability and fuel economy are 2 areas where it is hard to make such drastic compromises in todays climate.

Convertables in houston can be tough but 2 of my 3 cars dont have AC! Well I recently fixed AC in the tiny plastic car but it is still pretty terible.
LOL, I didn't take your comments as being derogatory, I just thought it was funny.

But to my point, putting a V8 in an Elise would likely make it an absolute hoot to drive... but at the end of the day, many of the qualities that make the Elise what it is, would be gone. Unfortunately, I've never had the pleasure of driving one (only trying to fold myself into one in a graceless manner), but I imagine it would pretty close in concept.

No A/C??! You sir, have me in awe.
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Old 08-23-2011, 05:23 PM   #25
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I'm surprised it lasted so long.
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