Mazda MX-5 production passes 900,000 units and counting continues

Article by Christian Andrei, on February 7, 2011

A new milestone was etched by the Mazda MX-5 after total production of the world’s most popular roadster topped 900,000 units on February 4, 2011, or around 21 years and 10 months after Mazda commenced volume production of the first-generation MX-5 in April 1989.

For over two decades in the United Kingdom, the Mazda MX-5 has been very popular with British customers. In fact, UK buyers account for 40 percent of European sales and over 10 percent of global sales of the Mazda MX-5. Jeremy Thomson, Managing Director at Mazda UK, remarked that British drivers consider the Mazda MX-5 as the ultimate expression of Mazda’s Zoom-Zoom philosophy of building fun-to-drive cars.

He quipped that for the past 20 years, the Mazda MX-5 managed to maintain its status as an affordable, lightweight sports car that is also responsive and enjoyable to drive. He also described the MX-5 as recession proof. Thomson remarked that sales of the Mazda MX-5 surged 10 percent in 2010, with owners enjoying high residual values. Moreover, the introduction of the MX-5 Roadster Coupe means customers would also be enjoying a trip not only on sunny days but also all-year around, thanks to its electric folding roof feature.

In fact, this version accounts for majority of sales as more customers want to drive their MX-5 even when it’s raining. Mazda MX-5’s popularity as a Roadster has been dominating in the UK.

The new Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe for 2011 features a price range of between £17,975 and £23,205 (on-the-road). The current MX-5 range is further boosted by two ‘special edition’ versions of MX-5 Miyako – the 1.8i Miyako soft-top (£18,769.68 OTR) and the 2.0i Miyako roadster coupe (£21,321.81 OTR).

In 2000, the Guinness World Records initially certified the Mazda MX-5 as the “best selling two-seater sportscar” in the world when its production finally reached 531,890 units in May. Since then, Guinness has continually updated the record as production eclipsed 700,000 and 800,000 units. For now, Mazda has reapplied to Guinness World Records for an update of the record to recognize production of the 900,000th vehicle.

Back in the 1960s and 1970s, roads were also travelled by lightweight yet fun-to-drive open-air spirited sports cars. In the 1980s, Mazda thought it would be right to revive such spirit by offering its own version of a modern roadster.

Thus, Mazda took off to develop and build the MX-5, finally introducing the roadster in February 1989. Until now, the Mazda MX-5 is still part of Mazda’s global line-up and it is now more interesting than before. Nobuhiro Yamamoto, program manager for the current MX-5, remarked that MX-5 has undergone two complete product redesigns and a number of upgrades since it was first launched.

He quipped that MX-5’s real open secret to success is its strong fanbase around the world, adding that as for himself, he will strive to keep the MX-5 spirit alive while transforming it into a car loved by more people.

Mazda’s senior managing executive officer in charge of development, remarked that during the 20 years since Mazda launched the first MX-5, society and vehicles have changed significantly. One of these changes is the increasing regard for environmental issues. Thus, as part of Mazda’s environmental efforts, it would develop of future products featuring SKYACTIV technologies.

Press Release

900,000th Mazda MX-5 to set new Guinness World Record

The world’s most popular roadster, the Mazda MX-5, sets a new record this week when total production of Mazda Motor Corporation’s iconic sportscar passes 900,000 units on 4 February, 2011. This significant milestone has been achieved 21 years and 10 months after mass production of the first-generation MX-5 commenced in April 1989. In Britain, the Mazda MX-5 has enjoyed 20 years of incredible popularity, owing to UK consumers accounting for over 10 percent of global sales and 40 percent of European sales, while receiving a host of ‘best sportscar’ awards from motoring and consumer media.

“For British motorists, the Mazda MX-5 is the ultimate expression of our Zoom-Zoom philosophy of creating cars that are fun to drive,” comments Jeremy Thomson, Managing Director, Mazda UK. “Over 20 years, the MX-5 has maintained its position as an affordable, lightweight sportscar that is responsive and rewarding to drive, while also proving itself to be ‘recession proof’. We sold 10 percent more MX-5s last year than we did in 2009 and owners enjoy remarkably high residual values. The introduction of the third-generation models meant that the MX-5 became much more than a ‘sunny weekend’ car and the Roadster Coupe, featuring the electric folding roof, now accounts for the majority of sales as buyers look to use their Mazda sportscar all-year round.” Today, the Mazda MX-5 continues to be the most popular Roadster in the UK. The regular 10- strong range for 2011 is priced from £17,975 to £23,205 (on-the-road).

Currently, the range is boosted by two ‘special edition’ versions of the legendary sportscar called the MX-5 Miyako. The 1.8i Miyako soft-top costs £18,769.68 (OTR) and the more powerful 2.0i Miyako roadster coupe has a £21,321.81 (OTR) price tag. Back in 2000, the Mazda MX-5 was initially certified by Guinness World Records as the world’s “Best selling two-seater sportscar” when production reached 531,890 units in May. Since then, Guinness updated the record when production passed 700,000 and 800,000 units, respectively. Currently Mazda is reapplying to Guinness World Records to have the record updated to acknowledge production of the 900,000th vehicle.

During the 1960s and 1970s, numerous lightweight and fun-to-drive sportscars offered nimble handling and free-spirited open-air motoring. In the 1980s, Mazda decided to resurrect this spirit with a new roadster for the modern age. Using the latest engineering techniques, Mazda developed the MX-5 and introduced it in February 1989 as a reminder that driving could still be fun despite ever-stricter safety and quality standards. To this day, the Mazda MX-5 remains the longest-running model in Mazda’s global line-up. Nobuhiro Yamamoto, programme manager for the current MX-5, said, “Since Mazda launched the original MX-5, it has undergone two complete product redesigns and a series of upgrades.

Its enduring success is due to the strong support it enjoys from MX-5 fans around the world. Going forwards, 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.” Mazda’s senior managing executive officer in charge of development, Seita Kanai, said, “More than 20 years have passed since the first-generation Mazda MX-5 was born. During this time, society and vehicles themselves have changed significantly. Responding to environmental issues has become increasingly important for all automakers. As part of its environmental efforts, Mazda is pushing forwards with the development of future products that will incorporate SKYACTIV technologies.

Many of the elements that go into our SKYACTIV technologies are based on long years of development work that have gone into the MX-5. Indeed, the guiding principle behind SKYACTIV – to build cars that are fun to drive – is perfectly embodied by our MX-5.” “As we head toward the next production milestone of one million units,” Kanai continued, “Mazda is committed to further evolving the MX-5. We will refine its fun-to-drive character and further enhance its environmental and safety capabilities. As Mazda passes its 91st anniversary, we are turning our sights towards our 100th birthday. In the years ahead, together with our sportscars loyal fan base, we will continue to cherish the MX-5 as a symbol of the Mazda brand.”

Topics: mazda, mazda mx-5, sales

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