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2018 Mazda Miata and Fiat 124 Spider Sales Drop Heading Into Late Spring

Both Mazda and Fiat saw sales of their convertibles drop significantly heading into the late spring, early summer season. Will the 124 Spider and Miata rebound as the weather improves?


The April sales report revealed some unhappy news for Mazda and Fiat. Both the Miata and 124 Spider have both had significant sales declines this April compared to last year. Not only were the two convertible models down in April, they are both down dramatically compared to last year to date. These are not seasonal declines we are reporting, but a two-year trend.

The 2018 Mazda Miata had a drop from 1,319 units last April to just 837 this April, a decline of 37%. Year to date, the Miata has declined from 4,701 units last year at this time to 2,803 this year to date. That is a 40.4% decline in sales in calendar 2018 compared to the first four months of 2017.

The 2018 Fiat 124 Spider has seen a drop from 465 units last April to just 337 this April, a decline of 28%. Year to date, the Spider has declined from 1,426 units last year at this time to 1,068 this year to date. That is a 25% decline in sales in calendar 2018 compared to the first four months of 2017.

Our story from one year ago asked readers, "Why isn't the 124 Fiat Spider selling well in the U.S.?" Readers and owners have offered many good insights on why the Fiat Spider, a car everyone loves, isn't selling to expectations. These new declines are worrying.

As the founder of the thriving Fiat 124 Spider Club on Facebook, and long-time Miata owner, reporting this news brings me no joy. One theory as to why the two are down is the unusually unpleasant weather. Much of the U.S. had a warm February but has had a very cold and snowy March and April. Perhaps the convertible owners are just being pragmatic. Why buy a drop top to park it awaiting reasonable weather?

Another theory is that both models, now into their second and third years of sales, have lost a bit of the luster when the new generations were launched. We'd like to ask readers what they think is responsible for these low sales. Please tell us in the comments below, or on social media where you find this story.


Graeme Robinson (not verified)    May 1, 2018 - 1:41PM

Accepting that small 2 seat roadsters are a niche product to begin with (otherwise more manufacturers would be building them), in the Fiat's case the answer is a complete lack of awareness among the buying public of its existence. My 124 generates a lot of interest from random passer-by, but few have any idea what it is. Combined with Fiat's desperate reputation in the US (which the often dreadful dealership experience is doing nothing to change), plus FCA's almost exclusive advertising focus on Alfa, and it's no surprise.

Those with an affinity to the brand bought their cars a year ago.

Giorgio (not verified)    May 1, 2018 - 3:25PM

There are many reasons for that decline in sales but the most important reasons are the following:
Both cars are unique and very beautiful, attracting young and old ages drivers.The main disadvantage is that these cars are only for 2 persons and you will need to have it as second car.The other Main reason is that both cars don't have an advantage technology modern and ecological engine. Fiat engine, for example, is an Alfa Romeo engine from 2010 with 148 emissions CO2 and quite high consumption
.Everyone who buys such a special car doesn't like to spend 28.000$ or euros and in a couple of years Mazda and Fiat to offer the same cars with a small facelift but with and Hybrid engine or a new generation more ecological and sufficient engines.This is how things go if you buy a car only for fun and not for family or daily use.People already consider these worries for any car they buy because you hear so many things about coming years that diesel engines will come to an end,petrol engines will exist but mostly hybrid and electric cars are arriving more and more by the time.The other theories are also under consideration of course as poor weather conditions etc..In Europe sales of both models are also not that great like in USA and weather here especially in South Europe is 8 months sunny and warm but people don't really buy such a car.Price in Italy for Lusso(32.000 euros with Navi) Greece(35.000 euros), Portugal(34.000 euros) because of high taxes.So in Europe high price is an extra reason for low sales for both carsYou may buy a Compass Jeep for 26.000 euros and you have a Jeep for all family or a similar one. The Miata-Fiat concept is really good no doubt about this and especially 124 Spider is the one which is even more special because it is a Legend since 1967 that Fiat with Pininfarina produced this car and now Fiat with Mazda instead.
They need to introduce new engines for both models, this is the minimum they need to do and a bit lower start price...

Arthur Dewaelsche (not verified)    May 2, 2018 - 8:56AM

While I love my Spyder and the drop top, I store it in the winter, in my humble opinion the car is more of a third car, so many buyers are older and can afford a toy for warm weather. Also due to size we older folks have bad backs or legs which makes it hard to enter the car or exit from it, I do not see any TV Ads for the car and few print ads. I took a 3 year lease and glad I did as I will go back to two cars.
I believe thie car is a great car for 20 or 30 years old people with no kids, middle income, a warmer climate. The company should run very special lease specials for people to try and build the market, dress up some of the cars with a wrap which it makes it one of a kind. Have the company run special events in their area and pass out swear shirts with this picture of the drop top, invite the general public, a credit app gets you in and that way time is not wasted on people who can not afford.
Get the car on the streets as demos for local celebrities and sport figures. Insure cars are available.

Steve Eldredge (not verified)    May 2, 2018 - 8:25PM

For the 124 Spider, I think the lack of sales is from a combination of the weather, a lack of marketing, and availability.

As mentioned in the article, we have had a lousy cold, snowy, wet spring, at least here in New England.

There is also little or no marketing for the car, no one knows what it is when they see it, but they always ask about it. Mine is an Abarth, and that confuses people even more. They usually start guessing... Alfa, Maserati, even Ferrari! There is certainly no awareness of to Fiat 124 or the Abarth brand amongst the general public.

I was at my Fiat Studio today, and they are selling every 124 that they get, the problem is, they can't get them.

I believe that if Fiat marketed the car, and got them to the dealers to sell, they would sell a ton of 124s. Unfortunately, FCA doesn't seem to be all that interested in selling them.

Sunny (not verified)    May 2, 2018 - 9:59PM

I recently purchased a Fiat Spider after months of looking at Minis, Miatas and Spiders. I am thoroughly loving my purchase. I think Spider sales are not as high because 1. Most buyers are simply not aware of its existence. Even when I drive my Spider to friends', they think it is a Mazda Miata. 2. Those who are just about aware of its existence, don't realize it is manufactured by Mazda. And FCA's low reliability ratings on the internet don't help

John George (not verified)    May 4, 2018 - 2:35PM

While I'm a life long Alfa owner, I've been in the market for a 124 Abarth since last year. Unfortunately, for reasons I don't understand, other than manufacturer greed, I haven't been able to find a 2018 Abarth without $4K - $6K of options. At $29K, the Abarth is a very good value proposition, at $35K, its not. Additionally, third party lease sources won't do cars with manual transmissions and the dealers are forced to use FIAT/Chrysler financing, with is much more costly. Its unfortunate that the 124, while being a Miata(best British roadster ever built) that men can drive without their manhood being called into question, its grossly underpowered. The Abarth demands at least 200 HP.

GrumpyJarhead (not verified)    May 11, 2018 - 11:29AM

In reply to by John George (not verified)

Not sure where you're at, but the Fiat dealer closest to me in North-East Ohio has 8 Spiders on the lot right now. 5 of them are Abarths and all are listed on their web site at $4000 below MSRP. The cheapest one they have is going for just over $26,000 (that's an Abarth, not a Classica). Maybe you should widen your search area a bit.

Bought my Lusso there 3 weeks ago. The advertised prices are good. You're not going to haggle them down from there, but that's not much of an issue when the discount is that steep.

John George (not verified)    May 13, 2018 - 2:43PM

In reply to by GrumpyJarhead (not verified)

I live on Long Island. The over option problem wasn't done with the 2017's. In fact, I regret that I didn't buy a left over 2017 Abarth last December with an MSRP of $29K that the Dealer was willing to sell for $23K. Unfortunately, I wanted a black or silver one and the one he had was red. I've already owned two red Spiders, a '91 Alfa and a '72 Fiat 124. Your suggestions to expand my search is great advise and that's what I'll most likely do as soon as winter returns and dealers have too many left overs.

UncleMike (not verified)    May 9, 2018 - 3:01PM

My take on the slowdown is because many of us were aware of and looking forward to the "new" cars. Once we bought them, the car manufacturers and dealers needed to ADVERTISE and expand the market. Has this been done? I have NEVER seen an advertisement for the Fiat Spider, except on Facebook. The local dealer is pushing leases, not sales. Come on people, if more knew about them, more would BUY them!

carman (not verified)    June 4, 2018 - 4:22AM

People expect more power and torque from a sporty car as well as creature comforts. The twins have neither, unless you accept the idea of driving a slow car fast. Added to which, the biggest group of target consumers are getting worried about a repeat of the "roaring 20's" depression possibility in the 2020's.

allan (not verified)    August 16, 2018 - 11:30AM

It should be quite evident to most people that convertibles are becoming less and less popular just as motorcycles are in the US. As the "supersizing" of Americans doesn't seem to be abating anytime soon you'll see very few people willing to sardine themselves into these tiny seated cars. Obviously, they're lots of fun to drive-so maybe I'll rent one for a day or two but rather not commit 25 to 30k of my money for a luxury toy.
I feel badly for anyone who actually bought the Fiat as everyone knows the brand will die in America pretty soon so repairs and parts will get even worse. I had a '69 fiat 124 sport coupe. Even Tony, my repair guy, not kidding, kept an extra Fiat in his back yard to cannibal for parts to keep mine afloat. So choose a Miata if you have to buy one cause Mazda is a much better company. With the death of Marchionne, you won't see Alfa or Fiat survive the competition in the US market. Even Kia and Hyundai are making pretty cool cars and that used to be an oxymoron. But if you have to have the Fiat 124, go ahead. They are nearly giving them away at this point so you'll get lots of bang....

Marvin Goodpickle (not verified)    October 9, 2018 - 4:58PM

Slow sales with the Spider may be due to the heavy bias of many hard-core Miata sites, like Motor Trend, and a serious lack of advertising and promotion. Last year MT nixed the Spider because "It wasn't a Miata" (!). I recently read another trashy Miata-biased report that gave low marks for having the SAME features as an MX-5, which they graded higher. They all gave it low marks because of "reliability". Well, morons, the numbers are in-over 95% of the owners are saying they are TOPS, and rarely are their any mechanical problems. So much for the "Fix it again Tony" crowd. Grow up! Fiat has!
My take, as a previous MX-5 owner, and one who test-drove a new MX-5 before buying a new Fiat Spider Classica. After nearly 9,000 miles, I'm still as happy as the day I bought it!

Marvin (not verified)    November 13, 2018 - 9:29PM

FCA depended on word of mouth to spread the news and excitement about the Spider. The problem was, there was NO initial thrust of advertising for the FIRST ear to get word of it! I went to a HUGE Miata gathering in Port St. Lucie, FL over the weekend and many had never SEEN a Spider! You can't buy what you don't know about...duh.

John George (not verified)    November 15, 2018 - 5:38PM

Sales of 2018 and ultimately 2019's will continue to be slow because they're just too expensive. I commended previously about you can't find a "base" Abarth at $29K, almost all Dealer inventory is comprised of cars with anywhere between $3K to $10K in totally unnecessary options. I've recently seen some '18 and '19 Abarths with MSRP's over $40K! That's just pure greed on either the part of Fiat and/or the Dealer network. Why would any enthusiast buy a $40K car with only 164 HP? Interestingly, Fiat of Manhattan early in the year had many $29K Abarths in stock. Unfortunately, the NYC Chrysler Jeep Dealership has stop selling Fiats and the cars seem to have some how disappeared. Shame on Fiat for building these perviously very desirable cars with so many unwanted options. I'll just wait until next year when the 2017's start coming back from three year leases. The price of used 124's has already started to tank. My expectation is that relatively low mileage Abarths will be available in the $15K range.

Megrew (not verified)    November 25, 2018 - 1:21AM

I purchased a new 2017 Abarth with every option. The dealer had 17 units and was selling new almost 50% and no documentation fees. Many dealers here have 2017 stock at amazing prices. Love the car and the price. Like others have said people don't know what it is. Replaced my motorbike after 40 years of riding.

Christopher Doll (not verified)    January 2, 2019 - 10:29AM

In reply to by Megrew (not verified)

I'm working on a deal right now on a new 2017 Lusso with every option and a manual transmission. It is for less than half of MSRP here in Canada. Brand new for $20500. Dealer has 25 in inventory. Classico was $18900. No advertising here at all. No one knows what it is.

Curtis (not verified)    February 13, 2019 - 12:24PM

oh come on, we don't know why sales are down? When the Miata was introduced, it was the poor mans Porsche. Its price point was competitive with the Honda civic, a college kids dream and true sports car for the masses. gradually the bean counters have ruined it and taken out of that segment. it now fits in the hands of the upper middle class who have no reason to choose it over a used Z4 or a Boxster just for the name sake. lets say I have over 30k to spend on a 2 seat convertible. My choices are do I go for the affluent and refined European sports cars and all the attention that comes from getting out of one at my local singles bar with 30k miles, or a new miata which isn't going to turn many heads. because mazda isn't a high end brand name. the choice is obvious.

They should have kept the price point entry level and stayed true to their market base. Moms and Dads do not buy these cars which means grandpas or college kids and grandpas. they are now to expensive for college kids and grandpas are buying European or Corvettes.