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August 22, 2011, 7:49 pm
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poor sales that is. Couple that with new tighter emissions standards
and the death blow was on the wall. Mazda only sold just over 1100
cars last year and sales are down 21% this year.
Mazda Motor Corp. has canceled production of its RX-8 rotary engine
sports car, citing falling sales and stringent global emissions
Production in Hiroshima, Japan, ended in early July and global sales
of the car will conclude later this year.
The RX-8 and the three generations of the RX-7 that preceded it have
long been the foundation the brand's fun-to-drive aura. The car's
high-revving 1.3-liter, twin-rotor rotary engine produces 232 hp at
8,500 rpm -- a big punch in a relatively small package.
But Mazda sold just 1,134 RX-8s last year, a 49 percent decline from
2009. Sales through July of 2011 were down another 21 percent.
The RX-8, which has a base price of $27,590, including shipping,
peaked at 23,690 sales in 2004. But the first-generation RX-7
surpassed 50,000 units throughout the early 1980s.
Mazda's U.S. dealers had 300 units in stock as of Aug. 1 for a 118-day
supply, according to the Automotive News Data Center.
Mazda pulled the RX-8 from the European market last year after the car
failed to meet local emissions standards. Without volume from Europe,
Mazda couldn't justify selling the RX-8, a Mazda source said.
Exporting vehicles from Japan also has become more difficult. The
yen's rise vs. the dollar was a major reason why Mazda's North
American operating losses from April through June grew nearly
threefold to yen 7.9 billion, or about $97.6 million, from the same
quarter last year.
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