Mazda President Announces Plans to Bring Back Rotary Engine Division 6 Years after Dissolution

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Mazda Motor Corp. headquarters building in Hiroshima

CHIBA — Mazda Motor Corp. plans to revive a division specializing in rotary engine development which was dissolved six years ago, Mazda President Masahiro Moro said at an auto show in Chiba.

The automaker will promote the use of plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHVs), which employ a rotary engine as a generator, Moro told reporters Friday. It also plans to develop a rotary engine that uses hydrogen and other fuels, utilizing a prototype that was unveiled last year.

Mazda intends to form a team in the development division comprising 30 engineers and others from Feb. 1. “The rotary engine is expected to be an environmentally friendly engine,” he said.

The rotary engine was Mazda’s signature technology, first mass-produced in 1967, but production ended in 2012 due to poor fuel economy, and the development division was dissolved in 2018.

Since the rotary engine’s compact size, light weight and high power can be utilized in electric vehicles, the company attracted much attention last year when it revived the Iconic SP, a rotary engine-equipped PHV.