HIROSHIMA, Japan -- Ikuo Maeda, Mazda Motor Corp.'s global design chief, who designed the RX-8 sports car and whose father penned the RX-7, wants to resurrect the signature RX series.
"I will never give up," Maeda told Automotive News. "Inside my head, I'm always going over shapes."
Maeda emphasized that nothing has been decided, but added that it can't be done without a new rotary engine. The brand's new fuel-injected Skyactiv engines, despite being clean and sporty, just won't do, he said.
"The name is RX," Maeda said. In Mazda's nomenclature, the R refers to "rotary."
And therein lies the hitch. Mazda's engineers are still struggling to update the brand's compact and powerful, yet fuel-thirsty, rotary engine to meet today's emissions rules.
Mazda retired the RX-8 in 2012, amid slumping sales. Part of the problem is demand. Last year, CEO Masamichi Kogai said sales would have to total 100,000 units a year to justify a revival. But the engine is also a conundrum.