A new Mazda concept car featuring a rotary engine is destined for the 2017 Tokyo motor show, which starts in late October.
At the Frankfurt motor show, Matsuhiro Tanaka, Mazda's head of research and development in Europe, told AutoExpress, "With the Tokyo Motor Show we will be introducing a new design concept — you can think of it as an evolution of theme of the RX Vision".
Tanaka said Mazda is "making the utmost efforts to try and make this a [production] possibility". Ever since the RX Vision concept was unveiled at the 2015 Tokyo motor show there have been conflicting reports about whether it will go into production.
With Mazda the only major automobile company actively pursuing rotary engine technology, the company has struggled with both technical issues and making a production model's economic case stack up.
Above and below: Mazda RX Vision.
The magazine is led to believe the rotary's important role in the brand's DNA could prevent any future RX vehicles being shared with another brand.
Earlier this month, at Mazda's technology forum in Frankfurt, Kiyoshi Fujiwara, Mazda's head of research and development, confirmed to CarAdvice the company is still working on rotary engines, albeit with a "limited number of engineers", reportedly with a double digit headcount.
Fujiwara said the company needs to spend its development yen on ensuring its survival, and that means big outlays on electrification, self-driving systems, and next-generation petrol and diesel engines.
Only after those programs are satisfactorily funded can the company consider extensive work on halo models and technologies. The company recently announced a new compression and spark ignition petrol engine, dubbed SkyActiv-X, slated for the company's next-generation vehicle range.