Fiat is trying to persuade us the 124 Spider isn’t just a MX-5 Miata in disguise image

FCA’s Italian brand Fiat has recently introduced to the world its latest model – the 124 Spider – which is based off the latest generation Mazda MX-5 Miata.

Many observers complained the 124 Spider is another case of “badge-engineering” after the Italian automaker simply took its badge and fitted it to the Mitsubishi L200 and called it the “Fullback”, but according to certain company executives it’s not the same case with the roadster. Fiat Australia’s chief, Pat Dougherty, believes there’s more to the 124 Spider than making some modifications to the MX-5. In a recent interview he claimed the 124 Spider / MX-5 was actually a “joint development”, and the Fiat variant has its major differences: “different sheet metal, different powertrains, different look and feel.” He added the company designers working on the 124 Spider had no idea how the MX-5 was panning out on the exterior, coming up with the 124 Spider that has “every panel on the outside different.”

Andrew Chesterton, Fiat Chrysler Australia’s Group communications & media strategist, supported his colleague as he pointed out the 124 Spider uses another engine, gearbox and body and even claims that many interior amenities above the beltline are unique. A more toned down approach regarding the model had Olivier François, Fiat brand and chief marketing officer at FCA, as he admitted there are striking similarities, though the exterior design is “obviously made in Italy” and the same goes for the 1.4-liter turbo engine. Fiat is already working on delivering a hotter Abarth version come next year and rumors are also panning a WRC revival for the 2017 season with the model.