Two decades have passed since Mazda started selling the Mazda MX-5 to the driving public in the United Kingdom. This 20-year period is more than enough to make UK consumers fall in love with the car, especially than this sports car does not only provide the thrill of open top driving and reliable handling, but also offers a way for those who can't afford fancy rides to experience enjoyable driving.
Now Mazda is incidentally celebrating a new milestone – selling its 100,000th Mazda MX-5 in the UK. The 100,000th Mazda MX-5 sold in the UK was recently delivered to its new owner, Helen Jones. With all these successes, the Mazda MX-5 has become the UK's most popular sports car. In fact, every one of 10 Mazda buyers around the world is from the UK. Also, every two of five Mazda buyers in Europe are from the UK.
The Mazda MX-5 had its global debut at the 1989 Chicago Motor Show. From there, the roadster instantly became a celebrity, especially because the Mazda MX-5 does not only mark the return of open top to the motoring scene, but it also affordable and well-proportioned as well as exudes a certain elegance.
Not only that, the Mazda MX-5 boasts of outstanding engineering and design, easily capturing the hearts of many and becoming one of the most appealing roadsters there is. Twenty years and two generations later, the Mazda MX-5 still features the same core design -- front engine, rear wheel-drive layout and 50/50 weight distribution.
All of these elements allow drivers to cruise along the road at any speed as if they are one with their MX-5s. March 1990 was a fateful month for UK drivers, as this marked the arrival of the Mazda MX-5 in the UK. Success was the name of the sales game for the MX-5 in the UK, with 2,246 units sold in its first year of sales in the country.
The Mazda MX-5 did not fail all these buyers, fulfilling all promises it made. It was not surprising that the Mazda MX-5 attracted a legion of huge fans – all drivers who experienced the reliability and performance provided for by this open top roadster.
UK is not the only that greeted the MX-5 with a warm welcome. It was also eagerly awaited by other markets around the world. Around a decade since its launch, the Mazda MX-5 was acknowledged in 2000 by the Guinness Book of World Records as the best-selling two-seater sports car in history.
To date, the Mazda MX-5 brought home over 178 awards and more than 880,000-unit sales. The current generation Mazda MX-5 racked up 58 of those accolades, including Japan Car of the Year 2005-2006 and Top Gear Magazine's Roadster of the Year 2006.
This open top roadster was named in the UK as the 'Best Sports Car' in its class in the 2010 JD Power vehicle ownership satisfaction survey. It was also named the 'Best Roadster' title – its fifth in a row -- at the 2010 Auto Express New Car Awards.
All of the 37 special editions of the MX-5 also enjoyed sales success in the country. UK sales peaked in 2007 with 9,234 MX-5s sold. Mark Cameron, sales director at Mazda UK, commented that the Mazda MX-5 is the car most people associate with Mazda, as they could not just aspire to drive one, but also acquire their own.
He noted that the MX-5's handling has been regarded as the best by motoring magazines. He noted that with 100,000 sales, the UK is the biggest market for the MX-5 because of the popularity of open-top two seat sports cars among the British.