Mazda's Chinese Branch Just Teased A Big Rotary Announcement

Illustration for article titled Mazda's Chinese Branch Just Teased A Big Rotary Announcement

Our sources in China have informed us, via coded telegraph, that Chang’an Mazda, the joint venture between China and Changan Automobile, is planning a “rotary announcement in six days.” Could this be the introduction of Mazda’s planned rotary range-extender engines for electric cars? The picture shows an original Mazda Cosmo, but I think it’s unlikely we’ll be seeing an all-new Cosmo. But maybe?


Whatever will be announced in six days, we know that it will be one of the “first cars of the Mazda 7th Generation Cluster” because it says so right on this graphic that Chang’an Mazda put up on Chinese social media:

Illustration for article titled Mazda's Chinese Branch Just Teased A Big Rotary Announcement

The post showed up on Mazda’s official Weibo account, and the countdown seems to have begun on September 20th, so we’re at least four days in. The Tokyo Auto Show is only a month away, too, which could mean a big announcement and not just something about their refreshed 2020 lineup?

Also, the blatant rotary references have to mean something, right?

As far as what those other characters mean on the poster, this is how my Google Translate app translated it:

Illustration for article titled Mazda's Chinese Branch Just Teased A Big Rotary Announcement

That sounded sort of, uh, weird, so I asked our own Kristen Lee, who knows some Chinese, to take a stab at translating.

Here’s what she told me:

You got it right, it means

The magic of dreams turns circles

Love you to the night and day

the lighter gray text talks about how the rotary engine makes the world more stunning/amazing

the last line is confusing, i THINK it says “after six days, see... the next generation?

that’s the only one that’s giving me trouble

So, huh, I guess that’s what this means. A dream of magic turn circle is something we can all relate to, of course, and yeah, who doesn’t want to love you love to the night during the day? I mean, what else do you want out of a car?


I also agree that rotary engines do make the world more beautiful. Maybe that’s what’s referred to by “magic turn circle?” The mostly-circular rotary motion?

My guess is that we will see a Mazda EV with a rotary range extender, just as they’ve been planning for 2020. And it’ll have a magic turning circle.


(Thanks to Sonoda Kotori!)

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus, 2020 Changli EV • Not-so-running: 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!:


Shane Morris

Here’s my guess: Mazda is going to use a rotary as a generator for a hybrid model. A small rotary with less rotational mass, spinning at full speed, is an insanely efficient engine. The maintenance issues with rotary engines come from the demands of stop and go driving. (Lots of time saved here, but basically, if you just let a rotary engine spin at 8,000 RPM, rather than getting it going and stopping, you dial out all the inefficiencies of the design.)

When I guess small, I’m guessing... 0.2 or 0.3 L, relative to how we think about them, maybe even a single rotor design, with a power output in the dozens of horsepower. It won’t vibrate much, and they’ll dampen the exhaust noise to a point where you don’t notice it. From a packaging standpoint, it won’t occupy much space, and it will charge a battery that is somewhere north of a Prius plugin-in, but south of a Tesla Model 3.

The end result will be a rotary-backed hybrid with something like 70 miles of battery range, and a rotary backup that can charge the battery, or act as a “freeway gear” for longer trips.

(Edit, I didn’t click the linked article before commenting... so yeah. Basically, a rotary range extender.)