Coincidence? 13 Months Of Mazda MX-5 Miata Sales Growth Stops As Fiat 124 Spider Arrives

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
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coincidence 13 months of mazda mx 5 miata sales growth stops as fiat 124 spider

The fourth-generation ND Mazda MX-5 Miata is undoubtedly, indisputably, undeniably the best addition you could make to your garage.

Some people disagree.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reported 480 U.S. sales of the Fiat 124 Spider in July 2016. The Spider is a thoroughly transformed version of Mazda’s fourth Miata: different body, distinct suspension tuning, unique powerplant.

With the 124 Spider’s arrival in the United States, 13 months of Mazda MX-5 Miata sales growth came to a screeching halt.

Mazda USA reported a 22-percent year-over-year drop in MX-5 sales. With volume down to 881 units, U.S. MX-5 sales fell to a five-month low precisely one year after sales of the MX-5 rose to a seven-year July high.

Coincidence? Who cares — total Hiroshima-built roadster sales jumped 20 percent in July, good news for any enthusiast who wants to see the MX-5 live a long and prosperous life.


The fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 has certainly been warmly received, both by critics (especially) and by U.S. car buyers. But the MX-5 is far from the raging success it once was, nor did Mazda expect it to be in a world which awaits autonomy and worships at an altar topped by Range Rovers, Escalades, and G-Wagens.

Thus, it wasn’t surprising to see Mazda seek out more use for its rear-wheel-drive platform; nor was it surprising to see FCA — always in search of partners — come together in a roadster marriage.

Mazda sold nearly 36,000 Miatas to Americans in 1990. But the launch of the second-generation Miata resulted in barely more than half that many sales. Mazda didn’t quite sell 17,000 MX-5s with the launch of the third-generation model in 2006. Expect only 11,000 MX-5 sales in the U.S. in 2016.


The addition of the 124 Spider to the Fiat range did not stop Fiat sales from falling in the U.S. in July. Brand-wide volume tumbled 14 percent because of a 44-percent 500 decline and a 28-percent 500L drop.

The 500X’s eight-unit improvement and the 124’s 480 extra sales were more than cancelled out, in pure volume terms, by a 930-unit decline from the 500 and 500L.

With four models, Fiat sold 2,754 new vehicles in the United States in July 2016. The brand’s best-ever July occurred two years ago with 3,807 sales sourced from two models.

Timothy Cain is the founder of, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

Timothy Cain
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  • Zackman Zackman on Aug 12, 2016

    Except for that ugly black hood, I like the design. As for sales of both Fiat & Mazda, they are down solely because while all the TTACers on here really one one or the other, they're waiting for used ones because TTACers only buy used, except for me and a few others.

    • See 5 previous
    • Shaker Shaker on Aug 13, 2016

      @28-Cars-Later 40 years of smoking and drinking, and a lack of exercise enables me to predict that a Multi-Air (with proper maintenance) will outlive me. But medical science does pull rabbits from hats these days - as long as one has good insurance. :-)

  • Chan Chan on Aug 12, 2016

    I test drove a base manual 124 Spider last weekend. The powertrain is indeed more entertaining than the MX-5. IMO if your sporty inline-4 is not as smooth as Honda's, you should embrace the agricultural noise and make it burbly like Fiat does. The base 124 is a quiet car--I would like more drama with the exhaust, so I am waiting for the Abarth version to arrive.

    • GeneralMalaise GeneralMalaise on Aug 12, 2016

      More entertaining... you wouldn't know it to read some of the car mags. They say the Spider takes away from all the adulation they want to shower on the Miata. No, wait... that's my interpretation of what they're saying. I say the more sports cars and less Corollas, Versas, Sentras there are, the better.

  • Analoggrotto Buyers are skipping these in droves and heading down to sign the golden paperwork for a new Telluride. ATPs speak volumes and we have 'em. Our customers are telling us that we offer Mercedes quality for a better deal, and our suite of luxury features rivals any luxury automaker. Insult me all you want, but AVMs, DSDs and BSODs tell the truth.
  • Ted Lulis The Exodus from California is mind-boggling. No surprise from the rectum of the country
  • Mr Imperial Seeing the adjusted-for-inflation amount always makes me sick, I can't believe how much it has gone up in my 40-some-odd trips around the sun. Still fondly remember seeing these and Ford Explorers everywhere.
  • Kyl65759578 👋
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