Mazda will stop producing vehicles with its signature rotary engines in June next year because of poor sales and the costs of meeting emissions standards, AP reported.
Mazda Motor Corp. said Friday the latest edition of the Mazda RX-8 will go on sale Nov. 24, targeting sales of 1,000 vehicles, but will end production in June 2012. The RX-8 is the only model in Mazda's lineup with the rotary engine,
The Japanese automaker, based in Hiroshima, introduced its first rotary engine car in 1967 and is the only automaker in the world that makes rotary engine vehicles. Such engines have fewer moving parts and are quieter than comparable piston engines but are more expensive to manufacture and consume more fuel.
Mazda's decision underlines how consumer tastes have changed to preferring green vehicles over sporty ones.
Mazda spokeswoman Michiko Terashima said research and development on the rotary engine will continue, but production is now not making sense when considering the costs of meeting safety and emissions standards for new vehicles.
Mazda sold only 2,896 RX-8 cars last year, with 1,245 of them in North America and 963 in Japan. Cumulative sales of Mazda vehicles with rotary engines total about 1.995 million as of the end of August, according to Mazda, which also makes the Miata sportscar.