The Plant Fire
At about 10:45 p.m. on Wednesday, December 15, 2004, a fire broke out in the paint shop at the Mazda Ujina No. 1 Plant in Hiroshima halting production. The Mazda plant fire brigade responded immediately, followed shortly by the local fire department which dispatched 21 trucks and two ambulances to the scene. The fire burned for several hours before being extinguished the following morning around 6:00 a.m. on Thursday, December 16, 2004. The cause of the fire was determined to be an electrostatic discharge generated in a small-capacity paint mixer. The daily output at this plant was about 1,000 vehicles. The Mazda models made at the Ujina No. 1 plant included the MPV family van, the RX-8, the MX-5 Miata sports car, the Demio, and the Verisa.
Naturally this had a devastating effect on Mazda’s abilities to produce these models with an announced production loss of approximately 30,000 units due to the fire's interruption. Although Mazda resumed production operations of the Demio at the plant starting on January 6, 2005 by utilizing the Ujina No. 2 plant Paint Shop (other models came later) the decision not to continue new orders of the MX-5 Miata for the 2005 models was announced on January 27, 2005 (Note: This did not apply to outstanding orders). Mazda then began the re-tooling process for the next generation MX-5 Miata, the NC.
All 2005 MSMs were produced prior to the fire breaking out with the exception of eight vehicles which exhibit a build date of Dec 20, 2004. These vehicles were completed with the "assumption" being they had passed by the painting process and were further along the production line. The production of approximately another 400 MX-5 Miatas (Note: Including 5 Roadster Turbos for the Japan domestic market) were completed until April 2005 utilizing the the Ujina No. 2 plant Paint Shop.
Complete production of the MX-5 Miata returned to the Ujina No. 1 plant with the new NC models in May 2005.