Mazda Douses Rumors Of RX Sports Car
Returning sports car isn’t a high priority...yetby Kirby, on
Rumors of the Mazda’s plan to bring back a new RX sports car may be only that for now. Excited as we all are about these whispers, Mazda Corporation’s global director and senior managing executive officer, Yuji Nakemine, has turned the tables on that enthusiasm, saying that the company has no “specific plans” to create a production model of the Mazda RX-Vision, the concept that was rumored to pave the way for the return of the RX sports coupe.
Speaking with CarAdvice Australia, Nakemine described the intention behind the RX-Vision concept as nothing more but a “dream of bringing that to market in the future.” While there may still be hope of seeing the return of the RX down the road, it appears that Mazda isn’t in any rush to do it at the moment. Nakemine touched on a handful of reasons behind this stance and it appears that priorities and money are the biggest obstacles the company is facing in bringing back the RX.
At the moment, the Japanese automaker’s remains on the MX-5, the iconic sports carthat is only entering the beginning of its current generation run. Even if the MX-5 essentially sells itself in a lot of markets, Mazda is still keeping an eye out on what it can do to make those sales volumes grow. Having another model to deal with will shift some of that focus, something the automaker can’t afford to do if it hopes to make “good money” off of the MX-5.
On that note, the issue with money and the status of the RX is a real one. Nakemine made that point very clear when he said that developing a new sports car that will carry the RX badge takes a lot of money to do. Not that the company is cash-strapped at the moment, but there is that belief within Mazda that unless it can provide the finances to fund engineering and development resources, it’s not going to jump into those waters just because there’s public demand to do it.
As the executive said, the RX-Vision is an important concept for Mazda, not only because of the response it received when it was unveiled at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, but more importantly because of what it could turn into when the company recalibrates its priorities.
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Why it matter
This is one of those times that I think there’s still more to the story than meets the eye. I’m prepared to take Yuji Nakemine’s word for it on the surface. He made some good points, especially about the money part, but I don’t believe that the RX sports car will be put on the back-burner for a long time, not when interest behind the car is as high as it’s ever been.
Maybe Nakemine is simply saying that we shouldn’t expect one in the near future, but maybe his definition of “near future” is different from others. Such a term is subjective and in this case, he might be implying that the RX sports car won’t be launched in 2017 or 2018. I’m not necessarily opposed to that idea because I’ve always believed that Mazda is targeting 2020 as the year it brings back the RX. That timetable is still four years from now, which gives the company ample time to get its priorities and finances in order. It’ll also be the year the company celebrates its 100th anniversary. What better way to ring its centenary than by bringing back one of its most iconic models?
It’s also important to remember that Mazda has already filed a patent application for a new turbocharged rotary engine that’s widely believed to be the mill that will power the returning RX model. The Japanese automaker wouldn’t go to that length to do that only to leave it under-utilized or worse, unused. I still believe that the new RX will come back sooner than later and it will be used a version of this new rotary engine. As for the timetable? Your guesses are as good as mine, but this much I’ll say. If it’s not launched in 2020 at the latest, I’d be very surprised.
Read our full review on the 2018 Mazda RX-7 here.