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New York show: Special editions keep interest in MX-5

Early days: The MX-5 has only been on sale in Australia since August last year so special editions are likely to be a while away.

Mazda to continue strategy of offering special editions to maintain love for MX-5

30 Mar 2016


MAZDA is hoping to maintain interest in its latest-generation ND-series MX-5 sportscar throughout its model life with a series of yet-to-be-announced special editions suited to specific regions.

The fourth-generation roadster has proven to be a global hit for Mazda, winning various accolades, including the World Car of the Year Award for 2016, as well as getting off to a strong start in terms of sales.

In Australia, the MX-5 arrived in August last year, and in the five months it was in showrooms it captured 917 sales, beaten in year-to-date sales in the sub-$80,000 sportscar segment by the Toyota 86 (3006), Hyundai Veloster (2685) and BMW 2 Series (1902), all of which benefited from a full year on the market.

So far this year the MX-5 trails those three competitors with 324 units shifted, while Ford's sold-out Mustang leads the pack with 745 sales in just two months.

Sportscar sales traditionally start off strongly when the new model is launched, with pre-launch interest driving enthusiasts and buyers wanting to have the new product first, before an inevitable slowing of sales as the model gets older.

In 2006, the first full year of Australian sales of the NC-series MX-5, Mazda found 1468 homes for the then-new model, and by 2008, its annual tally had dropped to 639. In 2012, Mazda sold just 159 MX-5s in Australia.

Mazda Motor Corporation MX-5 program manager Nobuhiro Yamamoto told Australian journalists that the company would use the MX-5 to showcase new tech and added that it would likely release special editions over its life to keep it fresh.

“MX-5 has a really long lifespan, you’ve seen from NA and NC we have eight years, eight years and 10 years, so we are always thinking how to keep up this momentum,” he said.

“As the years go on obviously the technology is evolving. Of course MX-5 is the car we want to encapsulate all the new advances and technologies we want to put in the future. Special editions, if there are requirements from certain regions, of course we would like to try to accommodate for that. We are always trying to evolve the car and this is always in the planning of the life-cycle of the MX-5 to incorporate these news things in the car.

“Thinking about the position of MX-5 within the Mazda brand, it is the brand icon and the strategy we are taking is that we are thinking of MX-5 as being the spearhead of the product portfolio. There are many different technology advances with the different products in the range, and those of course we will try and deploy in different models and of course to be taken up for MX-5 as well.”

With the previous-generation NC MX-5, Mazda introduced a number of special editions in various markets, including lightweight versions, Sport and Black editions, 20th Anniversary editions, multiple concepts as well as two facelifts.

The NC-series ended its run in Australia in mid-to-late 2014 with a special 25th Anniversary edition that was priced from $48,380 plus on-road costs which is about $7000 pricier than the most expensive version (2.0 Roadster GT auto) of the new MX-5.

Mazda Australia marketing director Alastair Doak said that special editions would roll out later in the MX-5's model life to keep interest up.

“We have those opportunities to look at special editions,” he told GoAuto on the Mazda stand at the New York show. “We haven’t turned our minds to it at this point. Only because the car is less than 12 months old. We have the 1.5-litre, 2.0-litre, obviously the RF (retractable fastback) is coming in the next 12 months. That’s enough at this point. But beyond that we have the opportunity to do special editions.

“Some other markets have played around with launch editions. We are conscious of the fact we want to keep the car in the news and to be fresh for as long as possible so we will certainly do as much as we can to deliver that.”

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