Mazda said it is to end production of its RX-8 sports car with a rotary engine in June next year, nearly half a century after it began selling rotary engine vehicles.

The decision was made due to weak sales as rotary engines, noted for their high output despite their small size, are not fuel-efficient enough to meet increasingly stringent environmental and emissions regulations around the world.

Mazda is currently the only producer of rotary engine vehicles in the world and added that it will continue its research and development of the engines, indicating it might make a return sometime in the future.

The company’s first rotary engine vehicle, the Cosmo Sport, made its debut in 1967 and continued through the Savanna coupe and sedan and their successor model the Savanna RX-7.

Cumulative output of Mazda's rotary engine vehicles totaled 1,995,000 units by August this year.