“We will have a number of very romantic, spiritual, enthusiastic anniversaries in the near future,” Aoyama-san said. “We also have a dream to deliver some kind of great news … when we celebrate these great anniversaries, it would be super.
“It’s our dream. Nothing has been signed, but it’s a dream.”
Chief Mazda 2 and BT-50 designer Ryo Yanagisawa told CarAdvice the brand would hold “many events” to mark its centenary, and confirmed Mazda was thinking about creating a special milestone model to launch in 2020.
“We are considering that,” Yanagisawa-san revealed.
Mazda will also celebrate the 50th
anniversary of its first rotary-engined model, the Cosmo sports car (top), in 2017, as well as the 40th
anniversary of the launch of the RX-7 (above) in 2018 – seemingly fitting years to launch a new-generation rotary-powered sports model to sit above the MX-5.
The timing aligns with comments made by Mazda Australia managing director Martin Benders earlier this month, who said he was “hearing more noise” about the resurrection of the RX-7 behind closed doors.
“Basically, they’ve got this thing through to March 2016 which says if they get all those ducks in a row, and they achieve that Skyactiv with all of those sort of models filling out that pipeline, then all of the rest can happen – all the toys,” Benders said.
“The product pipeline is pretty packed. The stuff they’re going to launch in the next two years is still pretty mainstream, and you’ll see them starting to fill holes beyond that.”
Aoyama-san admitted that Mazda fans around the world expected the company to launch a new-generation rotary model.
“Mass production of the rotary engine has been ceased for a long time,” he said, “but the spirit of the engine, that is something that is still alive.
“There is a strong expectation from the customers and enthusiasts. Mazda fans believe our spirit should also continue.
“We have a strong heritage of the rotary engine but we haven’t decided how we will revive the rotary engine for the future. We would like to pay respect to all of our heritages at the same time, so it’s a key concept we have to take into consideration when considering a future sports car.”
Mazda Australia public relations senior manager Steve Maciver earlier told CarAdvice a future sports model such as an RX-7 could be based on the same underpinnings as the new MX-5 roadster.
“[Mazda global chief of sales and marketing, Masahiro] Moro-san said in New York there is the potential for the MX-5 platform, for that to grow into another sports car,” Maciver said.
Yanagisawa-san has not yet been told what project he will move on to following the global introduction of the Mazda 2, and said he would jump at the opportunity to create a successor to the RX-7 and RX-8.
“I hope to be the designer of these models,” he said. “I currently drive an RX-8.”