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Mazda and Fiat have joined forces in an unlikely alliance. The result of this partnership is that the Italian brand will get a version of the Japanese automaker’s new MX-5 sports car and it will be called the Fiat 124 Spider.
Breaking this major news at the Geneva Motor Show, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles boss-man Sergio Marchionne confirmed to Auto Express that this new roadster will be coming out, though it’s still unclear if it will be branded a Fiat or an Abarth … or both.
The car will be built in Hiroshima, Japan by Mazda, though the MX-5 will bow first when it goes on sale later this year. Fiat’s version is expected to be introduced about 12 months later in 2016.
Naturally these two cars will share major mechanical components including the chassis and wheelbase. However, styling is one area where they will likely diverge, and significantly. It’s rumored the Fiat version will be a lot more retro, wearing design cues from the Fiat 124 of the 1960s.
Powertrain could be another major differentiator. The Mazda will offer a pair of naturally aspirated four-cylinders while the Fiat variant could be motivated by a turbocharged MultiAir unit, possibly the 1.4-liter version found in many of its other products.
In addition to all of this, Marchionne confirmed that Alfa Romeo will also get a roadster, though he did not share any details about this model. All he said is that it will be built in Italy, meaning it’s likely not another version of the MX-5.