The Italian version of the Mazda MX-5 due in 2015 will be badged either a Fiat or Abarth, the boss of Alfa Romeo has confirmed in an interview with a British car magazine.
Fiat and Mazda had announced a joint venture in mid 2012 from which an Alfa Romeo sports car would be twinned with the famous Japanese sports car, but we reported earlier in 2014 that Fiat chief Sergio Marchionne had started to go cold on the idea.
Alfa brand head Harald Wester said in the latest issue of Car that, "As far as the [Alfa] Spider goes, the final version is of course no longer the two-seater FCA [Fiat Chrysler Automobiles] co-developed with Mazda but a derivative of project Giorgio. The Far East import [the MX-5] will probably find a new home with Fiat-Abarth."
It would be ironic compensation for Fiat's sporty brand Abarth. 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 to give it some desperately needed new product ahead of a new-model revival starting mid 2015.
A standalone Abarth sports car has been expected for some time, though another possibility is that the MX-5 exported to Italy morphs into a modern-day Fiat Barchetta.
Wester's reference to project Giorgio means the next-generation Alfa Romeo Spider will share the same rear-wheel-drive platform as a number of other upcoming Alfas, including the BMW 3 Series-rivalling Giulia, and the Maserati Levante SUV.