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Mazda Promises the Return of the Rotary

Maker sends tweet to Japanese fans.

by on Oct.11, 2011

When the Mazda RX-8 ceases production the rotary engine goes away, as well.

The rotary engine is in for a revival, or so it might seem based on a tweet posted – in Japanese by the PR folks at Mazda headquarters in Hiroshima.

It suggests a “new model with next-generation rotary engine” is in the works, confirming a report by several months ago.

At the time, the senior executive on the maker’s new SkyActiv program, Kiyoshi Fujiwara, told TDB he was continuing to work on the Wankel engine almost as a skunk works project, even though it did not have the official corporate green light.  (For the full story, Click Here.)

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Now, it appears, the next-gen rotary program is on the official program, though the Mazda posting did not provide any details, according to our friends at

The rotary engine has been a favorite for many tech aficionados since the 1960s, when it made its first appearance in Europe in an NSU and, shortly afterwards a Mazda.  In fact, it appeared that the Wankel would become an automotive mainstay, with manufacturers as diverse as General Motors and AMC planning to put it into production.


Mazda Looking to Bring Back Rotary Engine

Despite mileage challenges, rotary could reappear by 2017.

by on Aug.04, 2011

The rotary engine made the Mazda RX-7 a force to be reckoned with.

With the upcoming demise of the RX-8 sports car, a piece of Mazda’s history will vanish.  But a senior company engineer tells that the Japanese maker aims to bring back the rotary engine – in all-new form – shortly after mid-decade.

Formally known as the Wankel, the unusual powertrain helped put Mazda on the map when it first entered the American market four decades ago.  At the time, a large number of manufacturers were studying rotary engine applications.  But early problems with reliability and an ongoing issue with fuel economy led most makers to abandon the technology.

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Mazda, however, has maintained the rotary in its line-up because its small size and high performance fit the brand’s “zoom-zoom” image, said Kiyoshi Fujiwara, the Japanese maker’s global product design chief.


Mazda May Abandon Spark Plugs for Laser Ignition

Updated rotary engine would run leaner, more fuel efficient.

by on Jun.29, 2011

The Mazda Kabura concept makes its debut in Detroit.

The rotary engine is the powertrain of the future – and always will be, declares the engineers who have spent frustrating decades trying to overcome the once-promising Wankel engine’s drawbacks.

Small, light and powerful, the rotary seemed destined for glory, with makers such as General Motors, Mazda and American Motors among the many manufacturers committed to using the engine back in the 1970s.  But then the first Mideast energy crisis struck and all but Mazda were forced to abandon the Wankel due to its relatively poor fuel economy.

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Over the years, Mazda has scaled back rotary applications but never abandoned the technology – and now, the Japanese maker may have come up with an intriguing solution, using a laser ignition system, instead of conventional spark plugs to boost the Wankel’s fuel efficiency.

The British magazine AutoCar quotes a “senior,” albeit unidentified Mazda engineer involved with the ongoing development of Mazda’s next-generation rotary, known as the 16X Renesis.