Mazda ended production of its RX-8 rotary engine-powered sports car for North America in May and will halt sales as inventories are sold out, company officials said.

Tougher exhaust gas regulations in North America require technology improvements for the RX-8, but Mazda has decided not to make any such improvement, they told Kyodo News.

Mazda put an end to RX-8 production for Europe in June last year. Future RX-8 production is designed only for Japan and Australia.

The carmaker launched the RX-8 in 2003. In North America, sales fell to some 1,200 units in 2010 from about 16,000 units in 2005.