Mazda Miata will live on as ‘brand icon’ in shifting market

The Mazda MX-5 Miata will continue to exist in its purest form, according to an executive at the company. That means despite a company-wide push to electrify, go carbon neutral, and move all of its offerings onto two platforms, the Miata will still hold a unique, almost revered, place in the Hiroshima firm’s lineup.

“At the moment, it looks like we will have this car forever, with this size and concept and combustion engine,” Mazda’s European chief of product development and engineering, Joachim Kunz told Autocar. The article clarifies that Mazda will keep the Miata on its own dedicated chassis, an outlier from the company’s two dedicated next-generation platforms.

Currently, Mazda has what it calls a small architecture platform, a front-wheel-drive one which underpins the 3, CX-30, and CX-50. A large architecture platform supports the CX-60, just introduced in Europe, and two upcoming SUVs for the U.S. market (The CX-5 and CX-9 are built on older platforms outside of this hierarchy). A rear-drive sedan was planned for this platform as well, but Kunz recently said the company is prioritizing the SUVs in a print edition of Autocar.

However, Kunz also noted that the Miata’s electrification was inevitable in the future. “Of course, some day, we will have to electrify it, but we want to keep this pure concept,” he said. Kunz also explained that the Mazda’s subsidiaries in various countries have less say on the fate of the sports car than other vehicles because the Miata “is the baby of headquarters.”

The Miata was introduced in 1989 and has stayed surprisingly true to its original mission of being a fun-to-drive car that almost anyone can access. In its 33 years, there have been only four generations. Kunz told Autocar that “having one generation for 10 years is not a problem for us”, suggesting the next generation may not debut until the 2025 model year.

Even as most companies jettison sedans, never mind sports cars, Mazda seems committed to keeping the Miata around in its quintessential form. “It’s our brand icon and it is always treated very specially,” Kunz said. Hopefully that means it’s not an island in a lineup of SUVs.

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