What Mazda dubs as the world’s best-selling two-seat roadster, the Mazda MX-5 Miata, has reached a new milestone of 900,000 units produced.
Nearly 45% of the two-seat Miata roadsters made – about 388,000 – were sold in the United States since the Miata launched there in the last century.
The MX-5 – called Mata in the U.S. only – made its global debut at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show and has since received several facelifts, along with many limited and special edition versions.
The first-generation MX-5 Miata (1990-1997 model years) was equipped with a 1.6-liter, inline four-cylinder engine that produced 116 horsepower and 100 lb-ft of torque. A removable hardtop was optional and color choices were red, white and blue.
Miata’s starting price was $14,000, and early production did not meet demand of what was – paradoxically – the last of the squared-jawed British roadsters, with a badly needed super-sized dollop of Japanese quality, durability and resale value.
A redesigned second-generation MX-5 Miata was unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1997 (model years 1999-2005 – there was no 1998 model-year car) and the third-generation Miata was introduced at the Geneva International Motor Show in 2005 (model years 2006- to date).
Currently equipped with an MZR-series 2.0-liter, inline four-cylinder engine, the MX-5 produces 167 horsepower (158 with – horrors – an automatic transmission) and delivers 140 lb.-ft. of torque. The soft-topped Sport model starts at $23,110 with the high trim, Power Retractable Hard Top Grand Touring models starting at – gulp – $28,550.
The 500,000th MX-5 Miata was produced in 1999 and sold in the United States. In 2000, Guinness World Records recognized the MX-5 as the world’s top-selling sports car. Incremental 100,000 MX-5 Miatas were built in 2002, 2005 and 2007.
The 900,000th Miata is a soft-top, six-speed manual transmission Copper Red MX-5. This Mx-5 is destined for Germany, where Mazda still achieves unusual Continental sales success, which I attribute to Mazda’s early development of the Wankel engine in a series of sport coupes that fascinated Germans.“As we head toward the next production milestone of one million units, Mazda is committed to further evolving the MX-5,” said Seita Kanai, Mazda Motor Corporation (MC) executive officer, research and development.
“We will refine its fun-to-drive character as well as further enhance its environmental and safety capabilities. In the years ahead, we will continue to cherish the MX-5 alongside its loyal fan base as the symbol of the Mazda brand,” Kanai said.