Mazda announced Monday that the new Miata will start at $25,735 in the base Sport trim, including shipping. Launch Edition cars, which are based on the top-of-the-line Grand Touring trim, will cost more.
Though the dealers will set the final selling price, Mazda is asking them to sell the Miata at sticker price and “not above that,” Barnes said.
When the original Miata arrived in the U.S. in 1989, Mazda dealers faced chronic shortages, prompting some of them to mark up the cars by $3,000 or more over sticker.
On Miata.net, an Internet forum for Miata fans, there are scattered reports of dealers asking $1,000 or $2,000 above sticker price for customers who wish to be placed at the front of the line for the redesigned roadster. Many of the forum’s users say they intend to buy one but will wait a year or so until the shortages cease.
In small amounts, markups are a good sign for automakers. They send a clear signal that cars are in demand. But excessive prices and wait times can erode relationships with customers, as Fiat Chrysler has learned from its 707-hp Hellcat engine, offered in the Dodge Charger SRT and Challenger SRT since late 2014.
After hearing about long waitlists, Fiat Chrysler took the rare step last month of warning its customers about unscrupulous dealers. FCA is shipping no more than one Hellcat per month to its dealers, but “an isolated number of dealers have taken a far greater number of orders than they could reasonably expect to fulfill,” Gualberto Ranieri, the company’s communications chief, wrote in a Feb. 27 blog post.
Customers who put down a deposit for a first-run Miata may not get to choose a color. But at least they’ll know what they’re getting.