The Mazda MX-5 is a lightweight two-passenger roadster sports car manufactured and marketed by Mazda with a front mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout. The convertible is marketed as the Mazda Roadster (マツダ・ロードスター, Matsuda Rōdosutā) or Eunos Roadster (ユーノス・ロードスター, Yūnosu Rōdosutā) in Japan, and as the Mazda MX-5 Miata (/miˈɑːtə/) in North America, where it is widely known as the Miata.
Manufactured at Mazda’s Hiroshima plant, the MX-5 debuted in 1989 at the Chicago Auto Show and was conceived and executed under a tightly focused design credo, Jinba ittai (人馬一体), meaning “oneness of horse and rider”. Widely noted for its small, light, technologically modern, dynamically balanced and minimally complex design, the MX-5 has frequently been called a spiritual successor to 1950s and ’60s Italian and British roadster sports cars. The Lotus Elan was used as a design benchmark.
Generations were internally designated with a two-letter code, beginning with the first generation, the NA. The second generation, (NB), launched in 1998 for MY 1999; followed by the third generation (NC) in 2005 for MY 2006, and the fourth generation (ND) in 2015 for MY 2016 (along with “ND2” being the designation for MY 2019).
As the best-selling two-seat convertible sports car in history, the MX-5 has been marketed globally, with production exceeding one million, as of early 2016. The name miata derives from Old High German for “reward”.