Mazda passes 900,000-unit milestone with MX-5 Miata

Trevor Hofmann - CAP staff
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While other sports cars come and go, Mazda's MX-5 Miata maintains a steady albeit speedy ascent up the record charts as it adds yet another milestone mark to its "best-selling two-seat sports car of all time" credentials. The new number is 900,000 units sold, and it's taken the tiny roadster 21 years and 10 months since its April 1989 inception to do so.

"More than 20 years have passed since the first-generation Mazda MX-5 was born," said Seita Kanai, Mazda's executive officer in charge of development. "During this time, society and vehicles themselves have changed significantly. Responding to environmental issues and the depletion of the Earth's natural resources has become increasingly important for all automakers. As part of its environmental efforts, Mazda announced its new SKYACTIV technologies last year. Currently, we are pushing forward with development of future products that will incorporate these technologies. Many of the elements that go into our SKYACTIV technologies, such as comprehensive weight reduction, grew from the long years of development work that have gone into the MX-5. Indeed, the guiding principle behind the SKYACTIV technologies – to build cars that are fun to drive – is perfectly embodied by the MX-5."

While it mirrors the classic Lotus Elan in styling, the MX5 took the sales title away from the MGB back in May of 2000 when it achieved 514,853 units and attained its a place amongst Guinness World Records holders. Lotus and MG in mind, the '60s were filled with affordable roadsters that along with the MGB also included the British brand's even tinier Midget, plus the Triumph Spitfire and TR series, the Fiat Spider and slightly more expensive Alfa Romeo Spider, and others, but today, after the demise of the Pontiac and Saturn brands along with their Solstice and Sky models, only one entry-level two-seat roadster remains in North America, the MX-5.

The MX-5 has grown in size over its 21 years, plus has improved interior comfort and quality while adding new technologies such as its optional four-season retractable hardtop roof. Nevertheless, the basic premise for the car, specifically its adherence to lightweight, fuel-friendly four-cylinder fun, motors on, which, most critics agree, is why it continues to maintain and attract a loyal following that allows it to succeed in a sports car market that has been ruthless to competitors.

"Since Mazda launched the original MX-5, it has undergone two complete product redesigns and a series of upgrades," said Nobuhiro Yamamoto, program manager of the current MX-5. "Its enduring success is due to the strong support it enjoys from MX-5 fans around the world. Going forward, I will strive to keep the MX-5's spirit alive while evolving it into a car that will be loved by even more people."

Of course, 90-percent of the way to its next target of 1 million unit sales, Mazda has no plans to radically change the MX-5's core character in an effort to woo more buyers, but modifications to improve performance while enhancing fuel economy and addressing other environmental concerns are inevitable.

"As we head toward the next production milestone of one million units, Mazda is committed to further evolving the MX-5, " Kanai added. "We will refine its fun-to-drive character and further enhance its environmental and safety capabilities. As Mazda passes its 91st birthday, we are turning our sights toward our 100th anniversary. In the years ahead, we will continue to cherish the MX-5, alongside its loyal fan base, as the symbol of the Mazda brand."

The 900,000th MX-5 rolled out of Mazda's Hiroshima plant on Tuesday, February 8, 2011, a 2.0-litre soft-top model finished in Copper Red Mica paint and destined for Germany, reiterating that while the original MX-5 was inspired by British and Italian sports cars of the past before being conceived and built in Japan, its success is the result of an ongoing global love affair.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Roadster, Mazda, 2011, Miata, MX-5, $20,000 - $29,999,

Organizations: Mazda

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