The switch from Alfa Romeo to the Fiat or Abarth brand for the upcoming convertible built by Mazda has meant production delays of up to four months.
The Fiat or Abarth-badged MX-5 equivalent was originally slated to be released as an Alfa Romeo this year but the decision was taken last minute to switch brands in order to keep the premium feel of the Alfa product.
The head of Fiat Chrysler, Sergio Marchionne, told the media at today’s Detroit Motor Show that the switch between Alfa and Fiat had indeed delayed the project by some time.
“Yes it did have an effect.” Marchionne said. “We had to go back and change some parts on the Mazda vehicle. Adding three months or four months [to the release date].”
Marchionne justified this decision by pointing out that the convertible would simply not have worked as an Alfa Romeo.
“I think it would have been unfair if we had done that car as an Alfa, given the direction we have taken Alfa, it would have been very unfair.”
It’s an ironic twist of fate for the brands to switch cars, as CarAdvice understands from Italian sources that the Alfa Romeo 4C was originally intended to be an Abarth sports car, before it was nabbed by Fiat’s more premium brand.
Whether this convertible will carry a Fiat or Abarth badge still remains to be seen. Nonetheless, a standalone Abarth sports car has been expected for some time, though another possibility is that the MX-5 exported to Italy and beyond morphs into a modern-day Fiat Barchetta.