brand suicide

So. There’s a new Miata. Looks a lot like the old Miata, but its got a bigger engine (not the rotary). This will be the third generation of the car; I had a first generation Miata for almost seven years and only sold it a few months ago. I even kept it after I had bought another car because it was so much fun to drive. Oh, it was plenty of fun to drive….on shorter trips, when it wasn’t raining, or cold, or I didn’t need to actually carry anything in it. But I digress.

But here’s the thing: the new Miata? Its not a Miata. They’re calling it the MX-5. The Miata was always officially called the MX-5 Miata, but everyone knows it as the Miata. Just MX-5 doesn’t mean anything. The Miata is probably Mazda’s strongest brand right now, and they’re tossing it away. This is completely mystifying to me.

The one reason I can think for trying to rebrand the miata is that it has a big reputation for being a “chick car.” The new design is a little less candy-shaped and more aggressive, and hints of the RX-8. Calling it the MX-5 makes the miata more masculine, I suppose. BMW did the same makeover last year with the Z3, which was primarily being bought by women, and now the Z4 is more of a guy car. I guess the theory is that both men and women buy cars that look masculine, but only women buy cars that look girly.

Of course Mazda could have easily solved its femininity issues with the miata by PUTTING THE ROTARY INTO IT. Girly is OK if the car makes 250HP.