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Mazda may revive rotary engine

If the market grew it would help Mazda return to the segment.

And not just as a helper for electric cars. But with Audi having developed the world's first electric car with a rotary range-extender -- the A1 e-tron that has just gone into a 20-car fleet trial in Munich -- Mazda may be re-examining its decision to kill off the engine technology. And that may extend to it returning in its own right.

Mazda research and development director Hirotaka Kanazawa says they haven't given up on the engine that added a sports halo to the brand with iconic cars like the RX-2 that won its class at Bathurst in 1971 and 1973 -- and all the RX models that followed it.

"We haven't given up on the rotary, we are exploring its range-extender potential as well as hydrogen-fuelled rotaries, our engineers are also working on Skyactiv rotary "RE" engine," Kanazawa says.

With the demise of the RX-8, Mazda has left the sports-coupe market to the incoming joint-venture between Toyota and Subaru, but Kanazawa hopes the market segment may be grown with the new entrants - if the market grew it would help Mazda return to the segment.

"Rotary engines match well with stylish and lightweight coupes. I welcome our competitors into that segment, I hope it gives stimulus for the segment, to re-invigorate, that is good for us," he says.