If you reckon the new Fiat 124 Spider is just a Mazda MX-5 with a fancy hat, a Fiat official will make you think otherwise.
Even though the recently-launched 124 Spider shares the same platform with the MX-5, the Italian-branded car has a completely different style and philosophy when it comes to looks, and even dynamics – or at least that’s what Fiat claims.
Sure, there are some similarities between the two beasts, but Fiat wants to clarify once and for all that the 124 Spider isn’t just a badge-engineered Mazda.
“I don’t think as a single product out of their plant, it necessarily said they have enough volume to make it make sense so we did a joint development and our development has different sheet metal, different powertrains, different look and feel and it’s not like we just badge-engineered the vehicle. When they designed that car, they hadn’t seen the Mazda, every panel on the outside is different.”
On the other hand, Olivier François, head of the Fiat brand and chief marketing officer of FCA, wasn’t so radical on the model’s origins, even though he too pointed out the car’s unique characteristics, after responding affirmative when asked if the 124 Spider is a badge engineered MX-5:
“It is. I mean it is, it’s partly true. It’s not a perception… but it’s undeniably a product of collaboration with Mazda, I am not going to deny, it’s the truth. But we worked on the engine. The 1.4 is made in Italy. The whole design is obviously made in Italy.”
Still, there’s no doubt Fiat’s own take on the matter appeals to a different clientele.