Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Milestone - Maybe

One of the automotive news web sites I visit regularly noted that Mazda's Miata or MX5 hit the 900,000 mark in units built. "The best selling sports car of all time," the article (likely a press release written by a corporate wonk) trumpeted. 

Photo courtesy of Rusty Heaps
The first generation Miata was a shameless crib of the original Lotus Elan. They got the look spot on and for the driver, they also gave the little car a big dose of driving fun. Add bulletproof Japanese build quality and you've got a car that can't help but be successful.

The Miata MX5 has gone through three generations with each successive design becoming more elaborate and perhaps finding its own unique style. The current MX5 is even available with a folding metal roof. While Mazda can rightly claim that the Miata (North America), MX5 (Europe, and now North America), Eunos, Roadster (Japan) is the best selling sports car, it is more accurate to say that they have the best selling model.

You see, the trusty old MGB sold over 500,000 cars and it was pretty much the same basic car from beginning to end. I know that there were several major changes to the car, the biggest being the switch to rubber bumpers, but deep down it was the same basic body, engine and drive train built on the same production line all its life.

Interestingly, about the same number of Miata MX5s and MGBs have been sold in North America.

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