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Mazda Miata roadster passes 900,000-built milestone

Fri, 04 Feb 2011

Mazda on Friday built its 900,000th MX-5 Miata, raising the bar on its Guinness World Record for best-selling two-seat sports car.

The MX-5 Miata originally set the record in May 2000, when production reached 531,890 units. But the record was updated when production reached 700,000 units and again when production reached 800,000 units.

"Since Mazda launched the original MX-5, it has undergone two complete product redesigns and a series of upgrades," said Nobuhiro Yamamoto, program manager of the current MX-5 Miata. "Its enduring success is due to the strong support it enjoys from MX-5 fans around the world. Going forward, I will strive to keep the MX-5's spirit alive while evolving it into a car that will be loved by even more people."

The car debuted in 1989, opening a new era of affordable roadsters, which had died off in the 1970s. It took up the mantle of free-spirited, open-aired motoring started by cars such as the Triumph Spitfire, the Fiat Spider and the MGB.

The first-generation MX-5 Miata, known as the NA, was powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that produced 114 hp. Mazda started offering a larger 1.8-liter engine rated at 128 hp in 1993. A five-speed manual transmission was standard.

The second generation, which began production in 1998, was known as the NB. The car lost its flip-up headlamps. The 1.8-liter engine became the only powertrain option that Mazda offered in the United States. Its output was increased to 142 hp.

The third generation, called the NC, launched in 2005. While the styling was derivative of the previous generations, the exterior did not share any components with the NA or the NB. The NC had two powertrain options: a 1.8-liter or 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The 1.8-liter cranked out 126 hp while the 2.0-liter produced 170 hp.

Mazda is entering its 22nd year of producing the MX-5 Miata and plans to continue evolving the car to meet today's demands.

"We will refine its fun-to-drive character and further enhance its environmental and safety capabilities," said Seita Kanai, Mazda's senior managing officer in charge of development. "In the years ahead, we will continue to cherish the MX-5, alongside its loyal fan base, as the symbol of the Mazda brand."

By Brad Constant