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Old 01-22-2003, 07:23   #1 (permalink)
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Mazda considering rotary-powered coupe, convertible variants of RX-8

By MARK RECHTIN | Automotive News

MONTEREY, Calif. -- Mazda Motor Corp. executives are considering variants of the high-performance RX-8 that goes on sale in June.

Executives at the vehicle's press introduction here said the company wants to build two-seat coupe and convertible versions.

The four-door, four-seat RX-8 is an expensive vehicle for Mazda to build. It is based on the only platform that the automaker does not share with parent Ford Motor Co. And the rotary engine is used only in the RX-8.

So the steeper development costs have prompted the company to consider model proliferation, said Joseph Bakaj, Mazda's head of global product development.

"If we get more volume, we amortize quicker. This is an all-new sports car platform with a unique collection of parts. I want to reuse that collection of parts with at least one more derivative," Bakaj (pronouced bah-KYE) said.

One reason the new sports car is called the RX-8 is because it is not a true successor to the RX-7, he said. Such a car would have to be a two-door, two-seat vehicle.

But before Mazda rushes to build another RX-7, Bakaj wants to see how the RX-8 does. Mazda hopes to sell about 18,000 units in the United States in 2003, and 30,000 units annually thereafter. That's a big jump; the previous generation RX-7 never broke 7,000 units.

Bakaj said the RX-8 has higher volume potential than a two-seater because of its easier access and ability to carry more people.

But, he said, Mazda will not proliferate the rotary engine outside any pure sports car applications. That means the Miata won't get it.

"Miata is a brand icon." Bakaj said. "It's simple, light and accessible. If you put the rotary into the Miata, you have to uprate the suspension and brakes, and the price creeps up and out of the sweet spot." He said the rotary engine alone costs about $2,000 more than the Miata's four-cylinder piston engine.
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Old 01-22-2003, 07:29   #2 (permalink)
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EDWARD LAPHAM COMMENTARY: Going round and round with Mazda

By Edward Lapham
Automotive News / January 21, 2003

Remember the Wankel engine? It's back.

That's right. The rotary engine, with pistons that go round and round instead of up and down, will power Mazda's high-performance RX-8 when it goes on sale in June.

And Mazda execs already are considering other variations of the four-seat RX-8. That could mean a two-seat coupe reminiscent of the old RX-7 sports car and maybe even a convertible version.

Twenty-five years ago, the RX-7 was Mazda’s answer to Nissan’s 280Z. The RX-7 wasn't as pretty or substantial as the 6-cylinder Z car, but the slingshot acceleration of the rotary engine made it a workingman's sports car.

A new RX-7 wouldn't be cheap, but it would provide some fireworks.
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My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.

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Old 01-23-2003, 19:10   #3 (permalink)
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As far as I'm concerned, the third generation RX7 is one of the most beautiful sports cars ever built. Datsun/Nissan Z car? Forget it!
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