By on March 25, 2014

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Mazda has some big news for Miata lovers at the New York Auto Show, with an exhibition of some of their favorite Miatas over the car’s 25 year history. Both myself (97 C Package, 2003 Shinsen) and Jack (former owner of a 93 ) will be attending, and we will make sure to get detailed photographs of everything – but don’t be surprised if we come back empty-handed when it comes to the 2015 MX-5.

The latest in a long line of silly rumors (diesel MX-5? puh-leeze) is that the new MX-5 will make a surprise debut at the New York Auto Show. As much as I’d love for this to happen, I am not getting my hopes up.

Why? Because Mazda doesn’t typically make big reveals at auto shows. The 3, 6 and CX-5 all made debuts on their own schedule, and for Mazda, this is a smart play. They are a small brand and don’t have a lot of money to spend on marketing. By launching them on their own terms, they can own whatever time slot they choose, rather than having to dole out big marketing bucks on fancy preview dinners or social media campaigns.

The New York Auto Show, while rising in importance, is also not the preeminent auto show to launch the new MX-5 at. A look at the debut calendar will also show what the MX-5 would potentially be up against: a new Dodge Challenger, Hyundai Sonata, Acura TLX and Chevrolet Trax (or other B-Crossover) are just some of the vehicles that the MX-5 would have to compete with for media and public attention. 25 years ago, the Miata’s debut at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show was a jolt of electricity to an auto market that had not seen a fresh new two-seat roadster in years. Today, the MX-5 is, frankly, an afterthought in the minds of the general public.

Based on Mazda’s past patterns of behavior, I’d say that they’ll launch the MX-5 when they are good and ready, and able to dominate the conversation around the car. If it’s going to be an auto show, then Tokyo or Detroit would be more fitting for such a major reveal.

Then again, I hope I’m wrong.

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60 Comments on “Editorial: Don’t Get Your Hopes Up For A New Mazda MX-5 Debut...”


  • avatar
    k9H20

    Wait- there is a new Challenger debuting at the NY auto show? How did I miss this?

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      It’s really more like a major refresh. New interior and electrical architecture, one new engine, new transmissions and minor exterior tweaking. I’m fine with that as the exterior of the car is just right IMO, but the other areas did need some attention.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    All I know for sure is that people will keep calling it the MIATA. Sorry, Mazda!

  • avatar
    Cubista

    I admit, I didn’t even know they were still being made. Saw one new on the floor of my local dealer with an SLK-style roof. And an SLK-style price. I guess they still make the regular ragtops, too?

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Mercedes wishes they had a hardtop as good as the MX-5’s. No penalty on trunk space, and only 12 seconds away from open air.

      And I’m guessing you were looking at a fully loaded Grand Touring Model w/hardtop, which crosses the $30K barrier pretty easily. But you can get a Sport ragtop in the low 20’s, easily.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      That’s quite impressive to get any Miata to the $43,525 base price of the poverty-spec, plastic-seated base SLK250.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    Honestly, with the sales numbers being as low as they are for this car, I feel grateful that there are any new MX-5s at all.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I like the new ones, but it’s hard to justify the extra expense when there are so many lightly-used ones on the market. Miatas are usually a second/toy car, so owners don’t put many miles on them.

      I saved more than $12K off new MSRP on my MX-5, with 15K one-owner miles. That money will go to another toy, someday.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Speaking like a true TTAC’er here, sadly, the MX5/Miata is a car you buy used, like we did.

  • avatar
    replica

    Just bought a 2006 Grand Touring on Sunday. I’m a happy guy.

    But the price for a new Miata? No thanks.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Looks like you, Zackman, and I are all part of the problem.

      I saw an interview with a Mazda executive not too long ago. He basically said that the company expects the Miata to sell the hottest in its first three years, and then dip sharply. So Mazda figures this into its product planning.

      That seems true for the NB and NC cars, especially. Lots of 99-01 and 06-08 cars for sale when I was looking, not so many 02-05 or 09+.

      • 0 avatar
        kiteboarder

        While I wish it weren’t true, replica is kind of right. It’s not so much that he, or people like him are the problem… it’s more that too many people treat new Miatas as garage queens. Then after they are bored they sell them. Then, you have the people that buy it and sell after a few years because of the lack of practicality. This causes a flood in the market of “like new” Miatas, which dips the price. This is turn makes you think… Why buy a new one if I can buy a cheap garage queen?

        • 0 avatar
          replica

          I hate to be part of the “problem” but the somewhat tragic resale of Mazdas AND that combined with the bi-polar pricing on toy cars is a huge incentive to never buy a new Miata. I want Mazda to do well, and if they could have gotten some of the funds from this used Miata, that would have been great.

          Que sera sera.

      • 0 avatar

        > He basically said that the company expects the Miata to sell the hottest in its first three years

        That’s basically true for all sports cars which tend to be toys where fresh out the package is a key selling point.

        It’s why porsche as toy maker is moving to a model of shared production platforms (ie 911/boxster/whatever to pop out of same line) to overlap these cycles.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    Why don’t they debut it at the Houston show? They could probably rent Reliant Stadium for what it costs to put it on in New York.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Houston isn’t actually an ‘auto show’ in that sense. It’s actually just the local dealerships getting together to show off their wares. It gets very little manufacturer support.

      • 0 avatar
        fredtal

        Exactly why someone like Mazda could turn it into what ever they want for a lot less money than trying to buy into one of the big shows. Especially for something like a new Miata, everyone would come no matter where it was.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    I am hoping to score a bargain 2014 when a wholly re-designed 2015 comes out. Still hoping . . .

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Probably a dumb question, but . . . within the specification envelope of the Miata, where would significant improvements be made?

    Sure, it could be given a harder edge with more roll stiffness and fatter tires . . . but then you’d want more power and on and on until you ended up with a different car.

    It’s a niche car that fills a small niche; but it does it very well.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Compared to the NC? Shave 250 pounds off the curb weight, go back to 15″ wheels, put a bit more legroom in the cabin, and some optional fixed-back low-mounted sport seats.

      And this goes against the weight point, but offer a factory coupe.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        Convertibles tend to weigh more than fixed-roof variants because they require extra structure to make up for the lack of the roof.

        If properly designed, a Miata coupe could weigh less.

        (Oh, and dropping in a tuned version of the 2.5L engine pushing 200 hp wouldn’t hurt, either.)

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Weight reduction is the only thing I could see. Even at 2500lbs, the NC is a great car given the mission. If I cared for convertibles, at all, I’d have one in my driveway.

    • 0 avatar
      Demetri

      Fuel economy will be vastly improved from the previous model. Interior should be a lot nicer. Hardtop operation will be faster. Better safety features. It’ll be bigger; that could be good or bad depending on your opinion. Other than that, only expect about 100lbs in weight reduction for the soft top and a little more for the PRHT. Anyone wanting more power will be disappointed.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Since when has the model been offered with:

    1) an automatic and;
    2) a retractable metal roof?

  • avatar
    319583076

    I bought my first Miata well-used and my second brand-new. Depending on the ND specs and changes, I might be buying my third brand-new, too. I like to support Mazda because I believe in what they’re doing.

    • 0 avatar
      johnny ro

      Support Mazda?

      They trade as MZDAF. Searching for no less than 90 seconds, I am finding it difficult to see how to buy their stock within the US. No SEC filings but mutual funds own it. It all appears to be used anyway (secondary market, no recent issues, but I could have missed one). Their last annual report I read contained a respectful, cautiously optimistic apology to shareholders. I had the feeling that he meant it.

      We support them more by buying their cars new or used than their equity, used. Help them generate profits.

      No insiders appear to own any, I like that. They just declared a $1 per share dividend on $4 stock.

  • avatar
    Morea

    Could an announcement, or lack thereof, be related to the Alfa Romeo Spider/Mazda Miata platform sharing arrangement?

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Excellent question. I don’t think there’s been any real change to the agreement. Rather, I only expect the nameplate to change–instead of Alfa, it may be Fiat or Abarth.

  • avatar
    robc123

    Been sitting on the sidelines for quite some time, waiting to buy the new version.

    am pretty meh on the look of the current one (like the NB).

    But what no one mentions is that the power hard top doesn’t kill the trunk space, every other brand w. power top convert does.

    • 0 avatar
      ccd1

      At least you are likely to get a successor eventually, unlike those of us who pine away for a successor to the RX-8

      • 0 avatar
        robc123

        wankel? terrible. even in commercial world- a company that tried to do a wanker aircraft engine cannot even get $1 of investment capital.

        3 doors? terrible.

        Triangles? terrible.

        alternatively, you could get a new mustang, stuff one of the cylinders with old socks and cut a 3rd door in the back, and paint some triangles on the car call it the new RX-8.1 triangle edition, paint it maroon.

        • 0 avatar
          Kaosaur

          Huh? What are you talking about? Wankels have been in use in aircrafts since the 1960s. And 4 years ago PWR (a company that makes rockets) was given a $1MM DARPA contract to develop a diesel Wankel aircraft. Wankels are super popular in UAVs and ultralights.

          It’s just a motor. It works. Like any other motor. And just like any other motor, it has advantages and disadvantages.

          Anyone who has actually responsibly-driven anything rotary-powered knows that the problems with those cars is not the motor. Electrical systems? Sure. Turbos? Sure. Heat? Definitely.

          NA rotaries got just as long life as any other motor of their day with the correct driving and maintenance habits. The sob stories of bad owners do not move me. The same owners would have fared the same or worse with the other high-maintenance performance cars of their day with “real motors”. I just so happen to be driving a turbo rotary that’s been on the road since 1988 without a blown motor or a rebuild. On a compression test it’s about halfway from where it would have been factory-new to where it needs a rebuild (bonus points to the Wankel for being able to do that one myself!) and there’s more than 100k miles on it.

          (I would be neglectful in not mentioning a few design flaws in the early RX-8s. I’m talking specifically about injection. They got those fixed [mostly: i\'d still premix].)

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        I’m not really pining for an RX-9, but I do wish they had dropped their V6 in the RX-8 body and sold it as the MX-8. It certainly wouldn’t have sold worse than the last few years of the RX-8 (I’d buy one), and it wouldn’t have taken much effort to design/produce.

        • 0 avatar
          robc123

          now we are talking, a real motor, 2 door, no triangles, position it like a good looken’ japanese hardtop coupe sports car. Put it in the mazda line up like a 911 (RX) over a cayman/boxster (mx5).

          Looking forward to seeing what a mix of italian jap sports car would look like. Why the hell not? its been a long long time coming.

          • 0 avatar
            Kaosaur

            RX=Rotary Experimental.

            Also, what is the Lexus LFA to you if not an Italian/Japanese sportscar? The interior and styling are pretty much like any other Italian car out there.

            The PRICE is also Italian, for certain.

          • 0 avatar
            Morea

            “Looking forward to seeing what a mix of italian jap sports car would look like.”

            Google actress Rosa Kato.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I mentioned the roof/trunk space above. Miata > SLK.

  • avatar
    redav

    “Based on Mazda’s past patterns of behavior”

    Based on their recent patterns, it will be late. (But better late than f’d up.)

  • avatar
    kosmo

    What show will feature the debut of the hatchback version?

    Now that is a semi-practical toy I could appreciate.

    New. Not somebody’s castoff.

  • avatar
    krayzie

    Anyone got the latest issue of Best Car Magazine from Japan? Any clues there on the next Miata / Roadster (or Rodostar if you prefer)?

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    A fun-to-drive, reliable sports car for $25k? Yes!

    Given that Alfa-Romeo will be showing their 4c or whatever the latest vaporware coupe is called, it’s imperative that Mazda bring the new Miata to the party. Besides, New York City is where the Jaguar E-type made it’s debut. It’s only fitting that the Greatest Roaderster In the World that the British Couldn’t Build be revealed in New York City.

  • avatar
    Strippo

    If I could make only one design improvement to my ’94, it would be to slap on a sixth gear meant for highway cruising, buff books be damned. That improvement has yet to be made. If CAFE concerns force Mazda’s hand, then I’ll be mildly interested in replacing my 20 year old toy. Five properly-spaced gears are plenty for autocrossing. Let that sixth gear be for the drive home.


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