AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Mazda will resume production of vehicles on March 22nd, an encouraging sign for the Japanese auto industry as it battles a catastrophic series of events that has seen most automakers in the country suspend production.
With Mazda based in Hiroshima, hundreds of miles away from the earthquake, tsunami and on-going nuclear incidents, the company has fared better than other car companies, Mazda said it will resume production on March 22nd, with a focus on spare parts and vehicles using “in process” inventories. Mazda said that it will announced medium and long-term production in the near future, but is unable to decide at this point in time.
[Source: Left Lane News]
Now here’s something you don’t see every day. And be thankful you don’t.
One of Vivid Racing’s customers, Shawn, out in Singapore, sent them over these shots of his Mazda RX-8 sporting a custom widebody conversion and a lot of design cues taken from Lamborghini. In particular there’s a lot of Reventon in the kit, not to mention a front end that resembles the Estoque sedan concept.
Modifications aren’t limited to the body either, with a nice set of Prodrive forged wheels and some AP Racing brakes.
GALLERY: Lamborghini-Styled Mazda RX-8
[Source: Vivid Racing Blog]
Mazda is still developing their next-generation rotary engine, dubbed the 16X, but development has been slowed by a number of issues, among them the engine’s failure to meet emissions targets.
Even though the 16X is expected to bring a 30 percent increase in fuel economy compared to the current 1.3L rotary engine, the 16X is so far off from emissions targets that it will take Mazda a minimum of two years before they can determine a timeline for bringing it to market.
The upcoming SKYACTIV engines and gearboxes also took much needed resources to develop, but one Mazda engineer re-affirmed the company’s commitment to the rotary engine, stating “we will never give up”.
[Source: Automotive News]
We’ve heard of people swapping Mazda rotary engines into older Miatas, but if reports out of Japan are to be believed, the next MX-5, due out in 2012, will come standard with an all new, super efficient rotary engine – as well as a hybrid system.
7Tune is reporting that an article in the Japanese magazine Best Car outlines Mazda’s plans for a “rotary hybrid” MX-5, set to compete with the “Hybrid Sports” competitors from Honda and Toyota. After that, things start to get a little suspect, as 7Tune reports that
“According to the popular magazine, Mazda is pondering whether to offer their newly developed Sky-G Hybrid Rotary Engine in a 1.2 liter ( commonly known as the 12A ) or 1.3 liter ( commonly known as the 13B ) engine capacity for their venerable Roadster.”
Despite these claims, the SKY-G has previously been announced as a highly-efficient piston engine, while the 12A – and the 13B for that matter- hasn’t been build for a couple decades. Last December, the SKY-G seemed to be a sure bet for the MX-5, and the engine was confirmed off the record through Mazda sources, who stressed that the new car would be an ultra-lightweight affair, with a 1.3L SKY-G being an integral part of the package. To put a rotary into an MX-5 would be a dangerous blurring of Mazda’s two strongest brands, their RX sports cars (famous for their rotary engines) and the MX-5 (which follows the classic 2-seat, bare bones sports car format that has made it so successful).
On the other hand, Mazda recently announced a patent for a new type of integrated electric motor, mounted in the wheel hub. A compact system like this could actually work on a car like the MX-5, where packaging and a light weight are essential, bu only time will tell what powertrain Mazda decides to go with for their iconic sports car, but with over 1 million cars sold over 20 years, Mazda has a lot of customers that they can’t afford to alienate, and a hybrid system would be the antithesis of the no frills experience that made the MX-5 such a hit.
The Mazda RX8 has led a rich, full life as one of the finest sports cars you can buy for under $40,000. Never the quickest car in a straight line, the RX8 was always a dominant car in autocross, and a good way to put a smile on your face when blasting down a back road.
The RX8 was slated to exit the European market this year anyways, officially due to stringent Euro V emissions standards, but slow sales in North America have hastened its exit from our shores as well. If you still want one, the R3 model, with various suspension bits, Recaro seats and fancy wheels is the one to get, but deep discounts are sure to be had on virtually all models. Picking up a newRX8 for the price of a Civic Si is a realistic prospect depending on where you live.
In the mean time, speculation continues on what Mazda’s newest rotary project will be. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for an all-new RX7.