Mazda has always marched to the beat of a slightly different drummer. The brand embraced the rotary engine when other manufacturers had abandoned the design, and it became the heart of Mazda’s iconic RX series of sports cars.

When other manufacturers abandoned the idea of a simple, inexpensive roadster as unprofitable, Mazda found a way to make it work, launching the MX-5 Miata in 1989. The car has since become the best-selling sports car of all time, and is now in its third decade of production.

Fuel efficient cars have traditionally lacked any kind of entertainment value for driving enthusiasts, something that Mazda is seeking to correct with its new SkyActiv suite of fuel saving technologies. Mazda is counting on SkyActiv to help it sell not only Mazda3 sedans and hatchbacks, but its new CX-5 crossover as well.

As innovative as Mazda has been through the years, it hasn’t always been profitable. In the fiscal year ending March 31, Automotive News (subscription required) reports that Mazda is forecasting a loss of $1.29 billion.

On its own, that’s bad news, but coupled with the fact that Mazda has lost money in the three fiscal year preceding the current one, it’s a sign that something needs to change, and change quickly.

Mazda is actively seeking automotive partners, playing on the strength of its SkyActiv designs. While no one has yet stepped to the table to take former partner Ford’s place, it seems likely that someone will.

In the interim, Mazda will probably offer additional shares of stock to the market, a tactic that helped the automaker raise $1.2 billion in 2009.