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When it comes to sports cars, perhaps none has the rock-solid reputation of the Mazda MX-5 Miata. From weekend warriors to club racers and everything in between, the Miata has a cult following that stretches back generations. But none of that explains the sudden surge in Mazda Miata sales in 2023.

Miata sales are spiking in the summer of 2023

Typically, an economic downturn means a slowdown in sports car sales, but the Miata is bucking that trend in a big way. So far in 2023, sales of Miata models have nearly doubled over 2022. Mazda data shows 5,513 units compared to just 2,800 last year, it’s safe to say that the MX-5 is on a hot streak.

Even more staggering are how many Mazda sports cars left dealership lots in June alone. In total, Mazda dealers sold 866 MX-5 models, compared to just 132 in May. That’s a spike of 556% from May to June. No other sports car comes close; the Subaru BRZ was up 97% in June but sold just 382 units to get there.

There’s a lot to love about the 2023 Mazda Miata

A red 2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata driving
2023 Mazda MX-5 Miata | Mazda

The iconic MX-5 formula is hard to beat. Perhaps that’s why so many automakers have tried over the years. From the Toyota GR86 and Subaru BRZ to cars like the Nissan Z and BMW Z4, small, affordable sports cars all strive for the same purity as the Miata.

In 2023, that formula is more honed than ever. The current generation Miata debuted in 2016, and since then, just a few minor tweaks have brought it back to the forefront of the sports car conversation. These days, the littlest Mazda chucks out 181 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque from its 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. A six-speed manual is the standard gearbox, while an automatic is available for those who want it.

Front-engine, rear-drive, a sharp suspension, and a scant curb weight of just over 2,300 pounds make the current MX-5 quite the little ripper. And though it lacks the refinement of models like the 2 Series and even the BRZ, it’s the simplicity of the Mazda sports car that makes it a great driver’s car.

Why are Miata sales suddenly taking off?

2023 Mazda Miata in the city
Two 2023 Mazda Miata models | Mazda

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why Miata sales are suddenly hitting high notes. The introduction of the new Nissan Z, an improved formula for the GR86 and BRZ, and the luxurious BMW 2 Series are each more well-rounded sports cars these days.

However, there is a push for more analog vehicles among Millennials and older enthusiasts, and in the new market, such vehicles are nearly impossible to find. For less than $30,000, the MX-5 is one of just a few that strikes such a balance. And for those financially-minded folks, the Miata holds its value better than most of those options as well. CarEdge shows just 10% depreciation in the first three years of MX-5 ownership. And over five years, the Miata depreciates just under 20% of its original value.

Overall, the Mazda Miata formula is a modern take on a classic sports car. In that sense, a pull toward nostalgia and an appreciation for value might explain why the Miata is suddenly selling like hotcakes.

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