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Discussion Starter #1
This image/story seems awfully confident, but I haven't heard anything nearly as solid from the grapevine (in fact I heard the whole RX-7 project was shut down.) Confirm/deny?

 

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It would be nice to see the RX7 come back and that design looks pretty good, though the hood and grille look too Acura-ish to me. I haven't heard anymore than the same rumours as everyone else, that they are "looking" to reintroduce the model.
 

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From a sports car enthusiasts perspective I would love to see a return of the RX-7, but I wonder how practical it really would be financially for Mazda with the RX-8 already in the lineup. (Actually, I would have rather they brought out a 2 seat RX-7 instead of the 4 seat RX-8).

Obviously the RX-7 would be essentially a 2 door 2 seat RX-8. However, the RX-8 is already targeted at those buyers, using suicide doors so the styling can mimic a 2 door coupe with a more practical 4 seat configuration. I don’t think they pulled it off well, as the car does not have a very good coupe/fastback profile to it like past RX-7’s. They certainly compromised the styling, but its not so bad that it looks like a 4 door family sedan either.

I would imagine an RX-7 would have to add significantly to sales to justify it, and it may only cannibalize sales mainly from the RX-8.

If I were advising Mazda, I’d tell them to worry about getting more HP under the hood of the RX-8 before getting too deep into an RX-7 project! The RX-8 is already a great driving and handling sports car, but it could really use more power to keep up with its competitors.
 

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I would leave the RX8 in the slot where it currently resides and keep the RX7 significantly higher up the ladder as it used to be previously. While I do believe Halo cars have only a slight impact, the "scene" is right for a RX7 return, as I believe it carries a greater mystique about it now then when it was actually in production.
 

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One major issue here is this is an Australian article. There are tons of cars that exist in Australia that have never existed here. With the all new Mazda design coming out this year, along with the entire Mazda3/6 line, and the RX-8 as well there lineup is getting kinda full in the USA. But who knows, I'm not a market analyst, there really might be a large demand for two door, two seat cars arrising again. I mean hey, look at how many Kappa cars are popping up alone.

And for the Metric System challenged 240kW is 322 HP. And the RX-8's 184 kW is 247 HP.
 

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I think a new RX7 is a great idea if they can pretty much utilize the RX8 to do it. If it's to be pretty much the same car, but two less doors and seats with maybe a beefier engine, then it's a great idea, but if they have to do an extensive redesign with lots of new parts, then that I think would be foolish. The industry seems a little roadster crazy, they can only sell so many to the world, and making a profit on them isn't easy. Filling a nitch and further utilizing the R&D and assembly line for the RX8 does however make a lot of sense.

The RX8 and Miata are brilliant cars that fit unique market needs and draw alot of attention to the Mazda brand, and further the performance spirtited image of the company. They are doing pretty well now. An RX7 only makes sense if reletively easy and economical for them to do as an offshoot of the RX8. :cheers
 

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Moving the RX-7 up the ladder is one possibility, but I am not sure how successful it would be. Yes, the last RX-7 was up there and it didn't fair too well. It was a great car that was seen as too expensive for a Mazda by a lot of people. If a new RX-7 was up there as well, it fate could end up the same. I am not sure Mazda would want to try that again.
 

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Fformula88 said:
Moving the RX-7 up the ladder is one possibility, but I am not sure how successful it would be. Yes, the last RX-7 was up there and it didn't fair too well. It was a great car that was seen as too expensive for a Mazda by a lot of people. If a new RX-7 was up there as well, it fate could end up the same. I am not sure Mazda would want to try that again.
Perhaps, but not too many sports cars did hold their own during that time. The most recent Rx7 was released shortly after a recession had begun. I think we are now seeing a renaissance of sorts. Think C6, 350Z, S2000, Z4, and countless other performance variations of Beemers, Merc's, etc.. are viable if not flourishing. Many exciting things in the pipeline or now out, Ford GT, Porshe Carrera GT, Merc SLR. Anyone see the new Brabus Merc? I think it all depends on if it fits it's market and pricing. Every OEM around is trying to rush a "performance" model in every category and price range to market.
 

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Darkhamr said:
Every OEM around is trying to rush a "performance" model in every category and price range to market.
This is why a prudent car company would think twice about launching to many low volume preformance cars right now. The market is becoming flooded. Mazda already has two successful performance cars now that bring awareness to the brand and help sell sedans (and that's what it's all about for most car companies). The only unique thing the RX7 brings to the table is the rotory engine, and that has only had a fair amount of popularity and has never sent people flocking to the dealerships.

I think a reintroduction of the RX7 is a great idea only if it shares pretty much everything with the established RX8. Shorter, 2 seats, maybe convertable, special body work and a beefier engine, but other than that it should share everything with the RX8. If they get carried away, and start making a new roadster from scratch, I think they'll get burned again.
 

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You both bring up good points. It really depends on how good the RX-7 was. The market for roadsters has been in decline. So although the S2000 has done well, 2 seat roadsters as a complete market are not selling as well as they used to. I am not sure if that is true of 2 seat coupes as well, although 350Z numbers are down as well.

We’ve seen a recession recently and are in a slow recovery which is being threatened by rising oil prices, skyrocketing medical costs, and consequently increasing burden and taxes on local governments. All of which supports Aerodave’s reasoning that it may be a dangerous time to be introducing sports cars, especially for Mazda who already has 2 in their lineup.

On the other hand, if the RX-7 was good enough and extremely well received by the public, enough so that it could be considered one of the top sports cars available (in both performance and especially value) then it might sell well despite a declining market. So in part it really depends on the product. However, there is a big trick for Mazda. Raise the price above the RX-8, and it moves the RX-7 into a class with much better competition and less room for error. At $30K the RX-8 competes primarily with the 350Z, S2000, and maybe lower end Audi TT’s. But if they do an RX-7 up around $40K, suddenly it has to be a better sports car value than top of the line Audi TT’s, BMW Z4’s, Porsche Boxsters, Chevy Corvettes. There is some stiff competition there for a potential high end RX-7 to stand out from.
 

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Fformula88 said:
We’ve seen a recession recently and are in a slow recovery which is being threatened by rising oil prices, skyrocketing medical costs, and consequently increasing burden and taxes on local governments. All of which supports Aerodave’s reasoning that it may be a dangerous time to be introducing sports cars, especially for Mazda who already has 2 in their lineup.
Actually, this makes me ponder another question. Is the new model launch with the best chance for that "unexpected runaway hit", the one that is being developed when no one is asking for it? In other words, is the car being developed when the climate is ripe, too late? Is a sportscar best developed in the throes of a recession and when no one wants one? Is the Solstice while highly desirable right now, coming to market at the right time for long-term success?
 

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Darkhamr said:
Actually, this makes me ponder another question. Is the new model launch with the best chance for that "unexpected runaway hit", the one that is being developed when no one is asking for it? In other words, is the car being developed when the climate is ripe, too late? Is a sportscar best developed in the throes of a recession and when no one wants one? Is the Solstice while highly desirable right now, coming to market at the right time for long-term success?
Excellent question! I guess we’ll have to wait for the official answer, but we can generalize.

I think its always best to be at the beginning of a new trend than at the end. Chrysler and the minivan is a great example. They came out with it first and tapped a huge demand for that kind of vehicle that no-one envisioned before. To this day they sell more mini-vans than any other company, and it is not because they make the best vans (Honda probably does). It is because they were first and grabbed a ton of the market. Sure, they keep things fresh and add new features to stay up there as well, (in fact, those new features are another example, such as stow-and-go seating) but being first definitely put them in the lead.

That doesn’t mean a late-comer cannot do well. Honda had substandard vans really up until the current version, which suddenly took off in popularity and sales. Toyota too. They are taking a small bite out of Chrysler sales, and a rather large one out of Ford and GM sales.

Sports cars are more finicky of course, I only mention those vans as an example. As for Sports cars, if you get in the market as sports car popularity is on the decline you may be in trouble. That is unless your sports car is the car to bring it back. Roadsters have been on the decline, which could be a troubling sign for GM. Maybe they just won’t sell right now! However, they may also be on the decline simply from aging products and undesirable designs. The C5 Corvette, Merc SLK, Boxster, TT, S2000, MR2 and Miata are long in the tooth for sports cars in need of a redesign (MR2 however is dead). The Z4 is not as well liked stylistically as the Z3. So the Solstice’s success may partly hinge on why the market is down.

If it is down because people who might buy a roadster are not getting a new one because the current crop of them have gotten stale with age, the time may be ripe to be the first out with a new, exciting design. Now I am not saying a high end buyer would go for the Solstice, but I list all those roadsters to show how universally old most roadster designs are at this point. On the other hand, if roadsters are not selling because the economy is down, it could be a bad sign. Then again, someone who might buy an S2000, TT, Z4, etc and who doesn’t because of economic worries might be inclined to buy the Solstice instead because it is much cheaper.

I guess we will just have to wait and see. If I were GM, I’d be concerned about the state of the market. But I’d also be confident that at $20K, this roadster is going to be so good it will be seen as a bargain and fly off dealer lots, even in a time of somewhat lower consumer confidence!
 
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