2012 Fiat 500 AbarthEnlarge Photo
In May 2012, Alfa Romeo and Mazda made the surprise announcement that the fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata would form the basis of a new Alfa Romeo Spider and that both cars would be built at Mazda’s plant in Hiroshima, Japan. However, by the start of 2014, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles [NYSE:FCAU] CEO Sergio Marchionne revealed that there had been a change of plans, and that all new Alfa Romeos would be built in Italy.
Marchionne didn’t rule out using the Mazda platform, however, stating that it would end up in a vehicle from another FCA brand. This led to speculation that Fiat may end up the recipient of the platform, something made all the more likely when in his FCA five-year strategy announcement in May of this year Marchionne revealed that Fiat would be getting a new “specialty car” by late 2015.
2016 Mazda MX-5 MiataEnlarge Photo
Now, Alfa Romeo CEO Harald Wester has confirmed to CAR that the Mazda platform will end up in a new Fiat-Abarth, raising the prospect of a new Fiat Barchetta or the oft-rumored standalone Abarth sports car.
“The Far East import [Mazda platform] will probably find a new home with Fiat-Abarth,” Wester said. “As far as the [Alfa Romeo] Spider goes, the final version is of course no longer the two-seater FCA co-developed with Mazda but a derivative of project Giorgio.” Giorgio is the codename for Alfa Romeo’s own rear-wheel-drive platform currently in development.
Given the expected late 2015 launch for Fiat's specialty car, more details should be emerging soon so stay tuned.