For the second time in history, it appears as though the Fiat 124 Spider is headed for extinction.
Fiat revived the 124 Spider in 2016 after a 31-year dirt nap, but it looks as though the two-seat roadster is already heading back to the automotive graveyard. In a Friday interview with the UK’s Autocar, Fiat CEO Olivier François called the prospect of a next-generation 124 Spider “unlikely.”
The current 124 Spider was brought to life thanks to a partnership with Mazda—even though it wears a Fiat badge and has an engine from Italy, the 124 Spider is actually made in Japan on the same production line as the MX-5 roadster. François admits the new-age 124 Spider was a “cool” and “profitable” project, but says investing in an updated roadster design doesn’t make much business sense.
“It is profitable business for us—but only because of the joint venture,” he said. “It was an opportunity and we took it. It makes money and it adds a certain cool factor.”
He continued: “But I accept that such a car may not be key to the future of the brand. It is not what I’d call a pure, absolute Fiat, but for now, it remains an interesting opportunity.”
The 124 Spider was never intended to be a volume model, but the roadster has actually done quite well for Fiat in the United States. Last month the 124 Spider was Fiat’s best-selling model, and for the year, it’s No. 2 on Fiat’s U.S. sales charts. However, demand is down nearly 20 percent year-on-year.
Of course the prospect of a next-generation 124 Spider, at least here in the U.S., is probably a moot point. Fiat’s overall sales have been in free fall, leading many to speculate that FCA will pull the brand from the U.S. market altogether.