The managing director of Mazda Southern Africa says the local arm of the Japanese firm will “probably” offer the next-generation MX-5 with a manual as well as an automatic transmission.
Towards the end of 2017, Mazda SA quietly discontinued the MX-5 roadster, but interestingly chose to retain the RF variant – available exclusively with a six-speed automatic gearbox – of the little rear-wheel-drive sportscar.
Speaking to CARmag.co.za at the local launch of the new Mazda3, Craig Roberts said the decision to drop the soft-top version of the MX-5 was a tough one.
“It was just a complexity issue for us. We looked at it and it was a hard decision for us to take, because the MX-5 is legendary amongst roadster purchasers,” he told us.
“But we looked at the market and did focus groups and studies, and we [found we] couldn’t bring in too many variants because of the volumes, because of the size of the segment. Whether we got it right … who knows?”
Roberts went on to suggest the firm would likely offer the next (fifth-generation) version of the MX-5 with a choice of cog-swappers.
“From the perspective of a next-generation model, we would probably bring in a manual as well as an auto transmission.
“I’m not sure whether we would actually bring in the soft top … and it remains to be seen whether there will actually be a soft top that comes with the next-generation MX-5,” he added.
As a reminder, the MX-5 RF (which stands for “Retractable Fastback”) sold locally is powered by a 118 kW/200 N.m 2,0-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine, sending drive to the rear axle via the aforementioned six-speed auto. It is currently priced at R538 200.
Ryan has spent most of his career in online media, writing about everything from sport to politics and other forms of crime. But his true passion – reignited by a 1971 Austin Mini Mk3 still tucked lifeless in a dark corner of his garage – is of the automotive variety.