So why won’t the RX-9 happen by 2020? First of all, there’s the SkyActiv-R rotary engine under development as a range extender for an eco-friendly model. There’s also the stringent emissions regulations, both in the United States and Europe, which makes the development of a high-performance Wankel harder than ever before.
Talking to Automotive News, the head honcho also revealed that “we are not in a business environment where we can start building rotary engine vehicles straight away.” Bearing in mind Mazda did the impossible with the SkyActiv-X engine that uses Spark Controlled Compression Ignition, internal combustion remains the heart and soul of the Japanese automaker’s promise for driving pleasure.
“What Mazda says is that no matter the era or driving needs, we are going to stick to providing driving pleasure,” added Marumoto, confirming that Co-Pilot autonomous driving technology will be introduced in 2025. The real-world verification tests, on the other hand, will start in 2020.
Something that’s even more surprising is that Mazda wants to develop such technology on its own, without joining a strategic partnership with the likes of Waymo and other such companies. “Although Mazda is a small player, it has been enhancing model-based development as a core technology to efficiently develop environmental and autonomous technologies,” mirroring the modus operandi of Boeing when developing an airplane.
The interview with Marumoto also includes details in regard to U.S. retail, which Mazda to improve by 2021 despite the fact transaction pricing hasn’t reached the level Mazda expected so far. By that year, the automaker’s U.S. division plans to re-brand 300 dealerships in this part of the world out of a total of 550.
Marketing innovation is another area that Mazda plans to rework in order to improve sales volume, a business metric that complements the profit and cash flow of Mazda dealers. All in all, expect great things from the maker of the MX-5 in the coming years.