Heart of Mazda The rotary engine is the “Heart of Mazda”, but unfortunately the company does not have a rotary engine in production now and may not in the future. The last rotary engine was in the Mazda RX-8 which was dropped in 2012. The rotary in that car could not meet the tougher emissions standards being adopted around the world, so the car and engine are history for the time being. Today, a group of 50 Mazda engineers continue to try to break the code of rotary engine emissions, fuel economy and reliability – all very tough challenges. With such a small group, likely with a limited budget, it seems like the hope for a rotary engine anytime in the future is dim.
Mazda executives mean it when they say the rotary is the “Heart of Mazda”. Back in the late ’50s and early ’60s, the Japanese government was thinking of consolidating its automotive industry and Mazda was in the cross hairs. Mazda likely would have been folded into Toyota or Nissan. To demonstrate that Mazda deserved to remain independent the company bought the license for the rotary engine from NSU in West Germany in 1960. Dozens of other companies licensed the technology as well, but Mazda was the only company to successfully bring the engine into production.
RX-Vision That did not, however, prevent Mazda from displaying the RX-Vision concept car at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show. Widely considered to be the star of the show, the dramatically styled coupe uses a rotary engine to achieve a very low hood height. Using the latest evolution of Mazda’s KODO design language, the RX-Vision has an extremely long hood with the cabin positioned way to the rear. The proportions and scale are surprising from a company like Mazda. In fact, the size and proportions hearken back to the days of the Japanese supercar race with the Toyota Supra, Nissan 350ZX, Mitsubishi 3000GT and the last Mazda RX-7. That was an era when each Japanese company was trying to out-do the other with higher and higher spec sports cars.
The RX-Vision is a sculpture in “soul red” a paint developed to accentuate the flowing lines of the car. Made to take advantage of shadow depth the color is vivid and head-turning. The color also makes the car almost impossible to photograph and even the professional shots used here don’t do the RX-Vision justice. It is a strikingly beautiful concept that likely will never see the light of day – at least in its present form.
Which cars and trucks are planted to the dealer’s floor? In other words, which vehicles take the longest to sell? Who cars? Why does it matter, anyway?
Well, while it may not seem that important to you, it’s critically important to the industry s a whole… from the manufacturese, component suppliers, dealers and quite a few financial institutions. First, if you know the time it takes to sell a vehicle, you know how much it is dragging on the dealer’s floorplanning costs. Floorplanning is the term for the amount it costs the dealer to finance the a vehicle in inventory waiting to be sold. If a vehicle has been hanging around for weeks, he’ll be more likely to deal aggressively to get rid of it. Also, vehicles that have high days supply may be less popular. From that perspective, they may be the ones you want to stay away from.
MX-5-Based Concept Introduced in Detroit
Owing more mechanically to the recently launched third-generation Mazda MX-5 (you remember, the sports car formerly known as Miata) convertible than to the RX-8 (which has been expected to spawn a two-door variant), the Kabura concept that introduced at the 2006 North American International Auto Show offers exterior dimensions between the MX-5 and RX-8. The concept explores the idea of an entry-level sports coupe that also offers enough interior space for today’s demanding audiences. While Mazda did not promise the Kabura is scheduled for production, they did indicate that if produced, it would stand as its own model line, alongside MX-5 and RX-8. Vehicle Voice and AutoPacific correspondents were there to take a look.
The Kabura is a two-door, rear-wheel-drive coupe powered by the Miata’s 2.0L four-cylinder engine mated to the six-speed transmission and borrowing suspension setup and components from the Miata. If our recent drive of two versions of the Miata are any indication, the Kabura could be a terrifically fun car to drive, though its larger size and expanded interior utility could increase the vehicle’s weight.
Every year, Car & Driver, one of the high circulation car enthusiast magazines in the United States, publishes the results of its 10Best awards. The 2006 10Best Cars awards were released in the January 2006 issue of Car & Driver and you can find them on the C&D website at (http://www.caranddriver.com/article.asp?section_id=33&article_id=10354)
Not having looked at the winners prior to writing this blog, VehicleVoice (http://www.vehiclevoice.com) staff conjectured about what types of cars Car & Driver would select.
We knew that, being a buff book, they’d select cars that appealed to the enthusiast, maybe throw one or two mundane winners into the mix, be heavy on import marques and generally favor smaller cars. Lets see how accurate we were?
BEST SPORTS SEDAN – Acura TSX
BEST SPORT COMPACT- Audi A3
BEST LUXURY SPORTS SEDAN – BMW 3-Series
BEST PERFORMANCE CAR – Chevrolet Corvette
BEST FULL SIZE SEDAN – Chrysler 300
BEST MUSCLE CAR – Ford Mustang GT
BEST FAMILY SEDAN – Honda Accord
BEST ROADSTER – Mazda MX-5 (Miata)
BEST SPORTS COUPE – Mazda RX-8
BEST LUXURY SPORTS CAR – Porsche Boxster
So, lets see, seven are import brands, 3 of the imports are from Germany and four are from Japan. Mazda picks up two wins with its sports cars.