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Mazda MX-5 - the world's top selling two seater convertible sports car extends its lead


February 3, 2011

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Total production of the Mazda MX-5 sports car reached 900,000 units today at Mazda's Hiroshima plant in Japan. The milestone was achieved 21 years and 10 months after mass production of the first-generation MX-5 commenced in April 1989 and further extends the Mazda MX-5's lead as the best selling two-seater sports car of all time. Indeed, the MX-5 took that title from the MGB (1962-80) in May 2000 when production reached 514,853 units to exceed the iconic British sportster. Second place on the list is now held by Porsche's 911 series (1963-present) which has sold over 700,000. It's also fifty years this year since Jaguar launched the first affordable super sports two-seater, the E-Type, but we'll be doing something special and separate for that shortly.

With its 21 year production run, the MX-5 is the longest enduring nameplate in Mazda's global lineup, having undergone two complete product redesigns and a series of upgrades.

"More than 20 years have passed since the first-generation Mazda MX-5 was born," said Mazda's executive officer in charge of development, Seita Kanai. "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."

"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 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 MX5 is so good that it is even fun with crap tyres. It is so adjustable and well balanced that you can go around corners playing tunes with the screeching of the tyres.

If they are so keen on weight reduction, SKYACTIV etc, they can start by bringing the next model back down to the 1000kg of the original! Seriously - they\'ve bloated out a bit since mk1.

John Hogan

I drove an earlier Miata for a day in 2002 and it reminded me of my old MGTD and MGA in its nimbleness. Recently I bought a MX-5 with the man/auto transmission and folding hardtop. Not as nimble, but I\'m afraid much of the weight gain is from government imposed safety features such as dash and door mounted airbags, etc. Sure, the folding top adds too. But I would imagine some tweaking of the suspension and added power will restore the fun quotient of the earlier models.

That said, I\'m sure its still the most fun on four wheels. I\'ve driven a 911 and found it to feel heavy at hand (Teutonic?). As for the Jags, they went away from the sporty feel years ago. I understand the Indians at Tata plan on converting their big XF sedan into a coupe, but that will be no sports car for certain.

Right on, Mazda ! (PS: My daughter drives a 6)


Uh, I thought that the Corvette had more than 1.4 Million units sold as of 2005...

Facebook User

Looks like someone over looked the Corvette! 1,000,000 sold by 2004 and still counting!


Oops, guess the millionth Corvette was actually July 2, 1992... \"a white LT1 roadster with a red interior and a black roof--the same colors as the original 1953 model--rolls off the assembly line in Bowling Green, Kentucky on this day in 1992\"

The Mazda has a long way to go.


Maybe the Corvette is considered another type of car, for some reason. I don\'t know neither the Corvette nor the MX5 intimately, but at least their size is quite different. From the article it seems like two seats is a point, but both the E-Type and the 911 normally have 2 2 seats...

Stein Varjord

The Corvette is no sports car, and comparing to a Miata is like saying a 747 can be compared to a single-engined Cessna. The Miata is a light, agile roadster. The Corvette is all about power and flashy style. The Miata IS the best-selling true sports car in history.


\"The Corvette is no sports car\"? What are you smoking, fww1?

Your comparison of the Miata to a Cessna is apropo, and no one would call the single-engined Cessna a sport plane! The Corvette would be the Zivko Edge 540. Aside from the silliness of calling a Miata a sports car, the actual record the Miata has must be qualified as the best selling \"OPEN\" two-seater sports car - they\'ve sold a lot of convertibles.

This article is in fact incorrect in saying the have the \"world\'s top selling two seater sports car\" as Masda does not hold that record. Look it up.


The first generation Datsun/Nissan Z cars also toppled the MGB by 1978 with over 550 thousand units sold. The z-series sold 1,535,000, in five generations in 2005, making it the bestselling sports car series in automotive history. It continues to sell in modest numbers as the 370z, to this day. So, neither the Mazda MX-5 or Corvette can actually claim the title.

John Mellberg

What is a true sports car? Is there a definition? If a Jag is a sports car then a Corvette most certainly is. To compare them with a 747 shows how ridiculous fww1 is being.

It would be more like comparing a Cessna with a P-51.

The Corvette is one of the most enduring sports cars ever built. The fact that it is also luxuriously comfortable and aggressively intimidating are further tributes to its heritage.

For the money,not much compares with the Corvette\'s style,comfort and performance for trouble-free extended traveling.

The Corvette is one thing America still does well. They even get good gas mileage!


Maybe they mean in terms of being substantially the same car? The NA, NB and NC model Miatas aren\'t THAT much different. They are structurally the same basic car. They are a whole lot less different than the various generations of the Corvette or Nissan Z series. Aside from relatively minor changes to styling and modest increments in displacement not a lot is different.

As per the Miata not being a sports car, I have no clue where THAT comes from. The Miata is only missing a big engine. It is a lightweight RWD car with an excellent suspension, weight balance and body rigidity. The MX-5 is the most tracked car in North America. The MX-5 has an entire racing series dedicated to drivers ONLY driving the MX-5. If that doesn\'t qualify as a sports car I don\'t know what does... It\'s like saying fencers aren\'t athletes because they aren\'t built like football players.

Facebook User

I really liked the boxter, then I got into it and drove it at regular speeds and the steering is very heavy. Then I took it out and opened it up to 130kmh and I went \"ah\" then the steering started to come into its own.

But the mx-5 loaded for 32k kicks its butt on everything because you don\'t need to drive 130 to get a kick out of it. hell, go around a hiway turn off at 60-70 and it\'s a blast, with out the tickets and high maintenance costs. Pop some sticky tires on this thing, get some mods and this thing really flies. way better than the MG I used to have.


I still miss my Austin Healy bug-eye Sprite! It was a sports car in every scense of the word and I had loads of fun in it! Never tipped a wheel in spite of trying my utmost. I realize that money doesn\'t go as far these days but I had all that fun for a cash price of $600. and a really big engine at 948cc! I know no records were broken for number of cars produced but I would sure like to see another version of that car (as long as they didn\'t bulge it out like they did the second gen mini!)

Will, the tink
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