Mazda Exec Says No to Mazdaspeed, Can’t Commit to Rotary Revival

Don’t hold out for a new Mazdaspeed3, and don’t expect the return of the RX-series rotary sports cars either.

byJames Gilboy|
Mazda News photo

Mazda board member and global president Akira Marumoto revealed in an interview at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show—where the company unveiled the redesigned 2019 Mazda3—that there are no plans to revive the Mazdaspeed brand, and that the automaker cannot commit to bringing back its RX sports car line.

"Mazda is a small player and if that segment has a high particular priority for Mazda my answer would be no," Marumoto told Drive (unaffiliated), with regard to the hot hatchback segment once occupied by the Mazdaspeed3. "Therefore we are not planning for MPS in the future."

Additionally, Marumoto advised against assuming that the company's 2015 RX-Vision concept means that RX models are on their way back, as Mazda has to reach growth targets before it can consider selling rotary models again, be it to reach Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards or to make such a car financially viable.

"RX-Vision is a vision model for design development so we didn't plan for production or commercialization of this model," Marumoto continued. "I am receiving this question [sic] maybe 100 times, and I will not commit."

"Nothing has been decided," he added.

Another Mazda executive was quoted in a 2017 interview whose transcript was presented as proof that development of the next rotary sports car engine was ongoing. In retrospect, the presented conclusion looks more like a misinterpretation of Mazda's affirmation that the rotary would become a range extender for electric vehicles, which Mazda confirmed in October. The first appearance of the modernized Wankel rotary is anticipated to be in Toyota's e-Palette automated commercial electric vehicle, and not a sports car—if ever a sports car again.