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Report: Mazda RX-8 Getting the Axe

Posted: May. 06, 2010

Motor Trend reports, "According to a well placed source at Mazda's North American Operations, the world’s one and only rotary-powered production car will cease North American sales, most likely after the 2011 model year."

The reason for the Mazda RX-8's end? Motor Trend explains: "Although the Wankel-engined, 2+2 sports car was recently refreshed (2009) and currently meets all U.S. emissions standards (which are in some ways more strict that EuroV), Mazda sold only 128 RX-8s in April of 2010 for a total of 428 year to date. The company builds the cars in Hiroshima, Japan, so it may make financial sense to cut back production and shipping costs on such a low volume sports car, in favor of its better selling, piston-powered vehicles."

Autoblog explains why the RX-8's rotary engine can be an issue for some owners. "There are a number of issues that all manufacturers that have chosen to borrow the rotary engine design from Felix Wankel have had to deal with, not the least of which have been poor fuel efficiency, comparatively high exhaust emissions and excessive oil consumption. It seems that these same long-running plagues may kill off yet another fun-to-drive rotary-powered model from Mazda."

The RX-8 isn't without fans. It's currently in fourth place in our Affordable Sports Car rankings, and reviewers are fans of its backseat, which is actually comfortable (a rare thing in a sports car). They also like the RX-8's power, but its rotary engine can be a bit of a bear to maintain.

Left Lane News suggests another reason for the RX-8's departure. "Rumors have suggested an all-new RX-7 is under development, which could be the reason for the RX-8’s departure. As you’ll remember, the RX-7 exited Mazda dealers a full two years before the RX-8 appeared on the scene. The next-gen RX-7 has been tipped for a 2013 launch."

LINK: Report: Mazda RX-8 Getting the Axe - U.S. News Rankings and Reviews
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