This July was an important month for the U.S. roadster market as the number of affordable rear-drive, sports car drop tops grew to three. The all-new Fiat 124 Spider, made in Mazda's Hiroshima Japan factory, joined the party. Based on the images Fiat released of vast numbers of Spiders in the import dock parking lot, there was certainly no shortage of cars. However, this being the first month of sales, it is likely that Fiat has a stronger month or two of sales ahead before the winter weather dampens demand temporarily. Last month we asked the question of which would sell better, the Miata or Fiat 124 Spider. The answer will take time, but we have some idea now.
July is perhaps the best month for sales of convertibles due to the weather. Spring months are also strong. In July Mazda sold 881 MX-5 Miatas. This number was down from last July which was the all-new (at that time) ND version of the Miata. Last July Mazda sold 1,130 of the then all-new cars, plus there may have been a few bargain NC models mixed in. Regardless of the drop-off, Mazda’s MX-5 Miata is still the sales leader.
Coming in at number two is the Porsche Boxster at 732 units. We won’t pretend that new Boxsters and Miatas really compete head to head in the marketplace, but they do both serve the same function for their owners. Boxster saw big percentage gains over last July.
The all-new Fiat sold very well in July, but not as well as the Miata did in its launch month. Looking back at the dates of our stories, the Miata arrived mid-July last year, and the new Fiat arrived in the third or fourth day of the month (a holiday obviously). With sales of 480 units, the new Fiat Spider landed with significant sales numbers given its small dealer network.