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Wednesday, February 16, 2022

The MX-5 Is Single-Handedly Trying To Save The Manual In The Philippines


With the launch of the 2022 MX-5, Mazda Philippines wants to single-handedly reverse a trend that’s so far prevalent in the auto industry as a whole: the death of the manual transmission.

For 2022, Mazda Philippines is continuing the Build Your Own MX-5 where they’re offering up to 76 different combinations of tops, exterior colors, and interior finishes. However, one surprising thing is that out of 12 variants, the gearbox choice is evenly split with six variants being in soft top and RF, and out of that, three are manual and three are in automatic.

When asked on whether the gearbox choices are reflective of a changing demographic of the MX-5 buyer, Steven Tan, President and CEO of Mazda Philippines said, “Yes.”

“When we first launched the current MX-5 (ND) in 2016, the uptake of automatic transmissions was around 80 to 90 percent,” Mr. Tan says. “This may be down to the local traffic conditions, or because they wanted to share their MX-5 with their loved ones. However, as more MX-5 owners re-discover the joy of the manual gearbox, we noticed a shift.”

That shift, pardon the pun, equates to more and more MX-5 buyers wanting a three-pedal layout. That has prompted Mazda Philippines to offer more variants with a stick shift. Thankfully, this isn’t just limited to just base variants now, as it was common in the past.

In fact, just announced for 2022 is the MX-5 Club Edition in both soft-top and RF or Retractable Fastback version. The Club Edition comes with features such as forged 17-inch BBS wheels, Recaro sport seats, and a Bilstein shock absorber. This is, ultimately, the sportiest and most expensive you can go in Mazda’s sportscar line-up.

In short, if there’s one car single-handedly trying to save the manuals in the Philippines, it’s the MX-5.

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