A new development in the Mazda-FCA partnership that was supposed to end in the Mazda MX-5 and the Alfa Romeo Spider sharing platforms is no more. This comes from a Car Magazine interview with the head of the Alfa brand. According to this interview, the Alfa Spider is not cancelled, but it will instead be an in-house project.
Fortunately, this cancellation was not the result of some huge fallout between FCA and Mazda, as the partnership will go on. According to the Car Magazine report, the partnership will now include Mazda and Fiat-Abarth working together to create a pair of roadsters. The initial thought was that maybe this will spawn the Abarth Roadster or the Fiat Barchetta, but a new trademark in the U.S. seems to squash that thought.
A quick search of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s site shows that Fiat has just filed a trademark on the “Fiat 124” and “Fiat 124 Spider” names on December 12, 2014. My logic tells me that the Fiat 124 Spider nameplate — one that was used from 1966 to 1974 on a small, two-seat convertible — will be affixed to the roadster built by Mazda and Fiat.
What’s more, if this Fiat-Mazda partnership results in a new Fiat roadster, then we may finally see something other than the zillion 500 variants on Fiat lots. Given it’ll be based on the same platform as the MX-5 and built in the same factory, one can only assume that it will be easy to fit it with all of the safety requirements that the MX-5 gets to make it legal in the U.S. Adding to its likely launch in the U.S. is its 1b filing basis in the trademark office, which means the company demonstrated an intent to use to name.
Another interesting item to ponder is the Fiat 124. The Fiat 124 Spider was related to the Fiat 124 coupe and sedan, so does this mean that the 124 could possibly be little more than an MX-5 with a fixed roof? Only time will tell, but the thought of a coupe body atop the MX-5’s amazing chassis sounds like a recipe for instant sales success.
Much like the initial Mazda-Alfa partnership, do not expect the MX-5 and Fiat models to look alike. They will share basic underpinnings and maybe a few bits and pieces here and there, but their styling and drivetrains will be specific to their respective brands.
There is no news on when we can expect the Fiat 124 and 124 Spider to debut, but I would suspect that we’ll see it launch in the next year, or so. We’ll bring you more details as they become available.