Rumour has it that the proponent of the Wankel rotary combustion engine, Mazda, may be planning to drop the tech it first adopted nearly five decades ago. The next-gen Renesis rotary has been in development since 2007, but economic hardship is ever slowly pushing the Japanese automaker towards ending things on that front.

According to reports, there’s a huge, ongoing discussion within the company on whether it should continue pursuing movement on the Wankel front. So says the automaker’s executive officer of product planning and powertrain development, Kiyoshi Fujiwara.

Fujiwara states that the development of the rotary has been halted at the moment, and not just because of technical issues – three major problems were identified with the current rotary engine generation, though two of these three blocks have been overcome. Seemingly, with the need to cut costs, Mazda leadership is cutting back on programs, and the one with the engine happens to be on the list.

The reports add that much of the rotary’s survivability will depend on how the company’s SkyActiv fuel-saving technologies take off. If they do, and brand sales pick up, then there’ll be the necessary dough to invest back into the rotary’s development, Fujiwara says. He hopes that such a move will take place, since the tech is very much part of the company’s DNA. Don’t hold your breath for anything to happen for a good four to five years at least, though.