Mazda's development of the next-generation rotary engine, first announced three years ago, is making slow progress and is missing emissions targets.
A top Mazda powertrain exec says the 1.6-liter rotary, called the 16X, is about 30 percent more fuel efficient than the current rotary engine used in the RX-8 sporty car. But the engine is at least one model year behind schedule because of problems hitting emissions targets.
"Maybe within two years we can tell you when we will introduce it to the market," said Mitsuo Hitomi, general manager of the Japanese carmaker's powertrain division.
The 16X was unveiled at the 2007 Tokyo motor show. But the project moved to the back burner during the global financial crisis as Mazda diverted resources to developing the new line of fuel-efficient SkyActiv engines that debut next year.
Despite the rotary engine's delay and swirling rumors about its future, Mazda says dropping the program isn't an option. Says Hitomi: "We will never give up."