AUTOS: The Wankel Challenge

In their increasingly successful invasion of the U.S. auto market, Japanese automakers have so far relied on low production costs and prices to win American customers. Now Hiroshima-based Toyo Kogyo Co. Ltd., Japan's fourth largest car manufacturer, is challenging Detroit with fresh technology. In Washington, Florida and Texas, the company has quietly begun selling two compact models equipped with German-designed Wankel engines, which generate twice as much horsepower per pound of weight as conventional piston engines. In California, where Toyo Kogyo will introduce its Mazdas next month, auto dealers have sized...

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