The Mazda MX-5, released as the Mazda MX-5 Miata / in North America and as the Eunos Roadster in Japan, is a lightweight two-seater roadster with a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout. Manufactured by Mazda in Hiroshima, Japan, the model debuted in 1989 at the Chicago Auto Show. The MX-5 was conceived as a small roadster – with light weight and minimal mechanical complexity limited only by legal and safety requirements, while being technologically modern and reliable. The MX-5 is conceptually the evolution and spiritual successor of the British sports cars of the 1950s & '60s, such as the Triumph Spitfire, Austin-Healey 100, MG MGA, and particularly the Lotus Elan.
The second generation MX-5 (NB) was launched in 1998 (for the 1999 model year), the third generation (NC) model was launched in 2005 (for the 2006 model year), and a fourth generation (ND) was released in 2015 (for the 2016 model year). It continues to be the best-selling two-seat convertible sports car in history and by April 2016, over one million MX-5s had been built and sold around the world. Production of the MX-5 had fallen by 2013 to below 14,000 units, due to the world finance crisis in 2008, and the pre-announcement in 2012 of the coming ND model.
Since the launch of the third generation, Mazda has consolidated worldwide marketing using the MX-5 name with the exception of the United States where it is marketed as the MX-5 Miata. The name Miata derives from Old High German for reward.