Milestones: 900,000 Mazda MX-5 Miata Roadsters Made

Miata’s starting price was $14,000, and early production did not meet demand for what was – paradoxically – the last of the British roadsters.

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.

Currently equipped with a 2.0-liter, inline four-cylinder engine, the MX-5 produces 167 horsepower; 158 with – horrors – an automatic transmission.

“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.

About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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