Ever since Mazda killed the RX-8 in 2012–and thus, the rotary-powered sports car–there’s been a bevy of hopeful rumors that the company will build a successor. Mazda helped intensify those rumors when it showed off the RX-Vision concept car last year, but now, the company’s CEO has killed hope for the RX-9.
During an interview with Automotive News, Mazda chief executive Masamichi Kogai said the company has no plans to launch a sports car larger than the MX-5 Miata.
When asked specifically if a successor to the RX-8 was on the cards, Kogai said “I think that as a sports car option, the MX-5 1.5-liter or 2.0-liter conventional engine, with its power and acceleration, might be a more exhilarating experience.”
Although the company doesn’t intend on launching a new rotary-powered sports car, Kogai isn’t ready to kill off the notoriously fuel-hungry engine just yet.
“If we were to restart production of the rotary engine again, we need to make sure it wouldn’t be just short-lived. We need it to meet future emissions regulations. We are still conducting our R&D activity to overcome any issues we have with emissions and fuel efficiency,” he said.
According to Kogai, if an efficient new rotary engine is developed, it would first be used as a range extender rather than the main power source of a car.