Mazda is the next Japanese automaker to announce its lineup for the upcoming Japan Mobility Show where it will put the focus on the MX-5. The recently unveiled "ND3" will be there, alongside a first-generation model known by enthusiasts by its "NA" codename. There's also going to be a two-thirds scale MX-5 model for kids to get an idea of what it's like to drive the beloved sports car.
The lesser-known MX-5 SeDV will be there as well. If the acronym doesn't ring a bell, it refers to a Self-empowerment Driving Vehicle created specifically for people with disabilities. It has been around for many years and comes in both standard and RF flavours, fitted with a lever that replaces the accelerator and brake pedals. It even allows one-hand steering achieved courtesy of a knob mounted on the steering wheel. There's also a special passenger seat to store the wheelchair.
The highlight of Mazda's booth at the 2023 Japan Mobility Show is going to be a "new concept car designed to symbolise the exhibit theme." For the time being, we'll have to settle for the sole teaser image at the top. By the looks of it, the rear design bears a resemblance to the Vision Study concept we saw in the second half of November last year. Those split taillights look almost the same, flanking prominent "Mazda" lettering. The two parallel lines below are slightly tilted whereas on the 2022 concept, they were straight.
When the Vision Study was briefly shown last year, the Zoom-Zoom company said that "it is intended to demonstrate the brand's commitment to enjoyable cars." Reading between the lines, it was Mazda's ways of saying the MX-5 is sticking around, despite increasingly stricter emissions regulations endangering sports cars.
Earlier in 2022, Mazda Europe's head of product development and engineering, Joachim Kunz, said: "It looks like we will have this car forever, with this size and concept and combustion engine." However, he did admit there will come a time when the company will have no other way but to electrify the car.
It remains to be seen whether this new concept is a preview of the next-generation MX-5. Even if it is, the ND3 was just revealed in Japan, which means the current roadster/coupe will remain in production for at least a couple of years. Consequently, we are not expecting the new model to go on sale sooner than 2026.
The 2023 Japan Mobility Show is set to star on 25 October with the first press day and end on 5 November with the last public day.