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