Fiat boss claims Italian manufacturer has 'no legitimacy' in sports car market after 124 Spider was pulled from sale
The new version of Fiat and Abarth 124 spider is unlikely, according to Fiat CEO Olivier François.
Although the Fiat car and Abarth 124 spiders have been withdrawn from UK sales, the loss of manufacturers here is still offered in mainland Europe and the US.
Despite sharing a platform and factory with Mazda, which assembles 124 Spiders alongside the MX-5s they are based on, economies of scale are not enough to overcome the dangers of currency fluctuations, nor the cost of shipping Fiat engines to Japan per car.
Sports cars are notoriously out of money manufacturers, but François' suggestion that the brand has "no right" in this area is surprising considering the Fiat Barchetta, Coupe, X1/9, 124 Spyder, 124 Coupe and 850 Spider from its past. However, these models are much less known than the MX-5 and BMW Z4 for rent.
Earlier this year François told Autocar that there is still interest in this segment behind the brand, but it's not vital to Fiat's revival.
“124 is a niche market,” Francois said. “This is a profitable business for us - but only because of the JV. It was an opportunity and we took it. He makes money and that adds a cool factor.
“But I admit that such a car cannot be the key to the future of the brand. It's not what I call pure, absolute Fiat, but for now, it remains an interesting possibility."
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