The Emergence of Miata

mazda miata, car, 1989, baby name, 1980s

The baby name Miata appeared in the U.S. data for a little more than a decade, 1989 to 1999, and saw peak usage in the early ’90s:

  • 1993: 19 baby girls named Miata
  • 1992: 17 baby girls named Miata
  • 1991: 25 baby girls named Miata [peak]
  • 1990: 25 baby girls named Miata [peak]
  • 1989: 23 baby girls named Miata [debut]
  • 1988: unlisted

The inspiration, of course, was the Mazda MX-5 Miata — a lightweight, two-seat, open-top roadster that was unveiled in February of 1989 and went on sale in the U.S. the following May.

The sporty car became popular right away, with the help of enthusiastic reviews like this one from Car and Driver (Sept. 1989):

With the new Miata, Mazda has brought back the simple, honest sports car we feared had vanished forever. No longer will we gaze in frustration at 1960s movies and their rakish Triumph TR4s and Lotus Elans and MGBs. Mazda has resurrected those barnstorming sports-car times in one spectacular, up-to-date package.

According to one source, the name of the car came from the Old High German word miata, meaning “a reward” or “due amount of praise.” Interestingly, the name was used only in the North American market.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Miata?

Sources:

Image: Adapted from Mazda MX-5 ND 2.0 SKYACTIV-G 160 i-ELOOP Side View by Kickaffe (Mario von Berg) under CC BY-SA 4.0.


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