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

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
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.

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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.

  • Tassos Now as for the Z specifically, Car and Driver had a comparison test of the new Z400, a car that looks good on paper, with plenty of HP etc, but, despite the fact that the cars that win in those tests are usually brand new models that are more up to date than their aging rivals, the Z finished DEAD LAST in the test, to my ovbious surprise.
  • Arthur Dailey Sorry but compare that spartan interior to the Marks that Corey is writing about. 'A cigarette lighter'. Every Mark had 4 cigarette lighters and ashtrays. And these came standard with 'a 3.4-liter, 182-horsepower straight-six in the engine compartment and a five-speed manual transmission'. Those do not tick off many of the luxury boxes aspired to by 'the greatest generation'.Not sure about the 7 series but one of My Old Man's associates showed up once with a brand new 5 series circa 1977 and they gave him such a bad time that he traded it for a Fleetwood within a week.
  • Tassos I clearly have no sentimental attachment to any cars from the 80s. I myself drove a Dasher (passat) wagon with horrible reliability, and then a Pontiac 2000, very fuel efficient for its time with its 1.8 lt and 5 speed, but a small econobox crudely made, with no luxuries inside. But most other cars of the era were really CRAPPY, unsafe, both in terms of passive AND active safety, had very few options modern cars have, etc etc. The best car I owned then was a 1991 Honda Civic 5-sp hatch, but that was also an 80s design that was on sale from 1987-1991. Not just the domestics were crappy then, but so were m ost of the imports. As you can see, I have ZERO "nostalgia" for any of these, especially not for the unreliable, poorly made JUNK from DATSUN-NISSAN, which is widely reviled overseas as a maker of small pickup trucks that are the favorites of Gypsies selling watermelons from their bed.
  • Tassos While Acura was the first Japanese attempt to sell 'luxury' (or "premium") vehicles in the US market, and despite its original good success in the near-luxury segment with the Legend and the far smaller and less expensive Itegra (a glorified Civic), it later lost its momentum and offered a series of underwhelming vehicles. It sure is not a LUXURY maker, and as long as it offers FWD or AWD and NOT RWD vehicles, it will never be taken seriously as a serious sports cars maker. Infiniti is much worse, and if both of them go under, few will notice. Lexus was more successful, offering pimped up TOyotas for 10,000s more, but there is NO vehicle in their lineup, esp now that they scewed up the only serious entry (the LS), that I would care to consider. AND I say all this as a very satisfied owner of 5-speed Honda coupes and hatchbacks (a 1991 Civic hatch and a 1990 Accord Coupe).
  • Mike Beranek Yet another reason to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles charged with energy from wind & solar with modern, non-Monty Burns nuclear as a backup.