Alfa Spider project in jeopardy
Alfa Spider and MX-5 joint venture still on, but Alfa badge could be swapped for another Fiat-Chrysler brand
Conditions of the joint venture between Alfa Romeo and Mazda, to produce the new-generation MX-5 alongside an Alfa Spider for 2015, could be about to change dramatically following revelations at the Geneva Motor Show. Sergio Marchionne, CEO of the Fiat Group, announced that he would “no longer be the CEO of a company where Alfa Romeos were not produced in Italy.” But as the terms of the joint venture state that the MX-5 and Spider will both be built by Mazda in Hiroshima, Japan, it raises the question of whether the Spider has been scrapped from Alfa’s product plan altogether. Marchionne refused to comment on specifics, but insisted that the Fiat group remained committed to using the “architecture and powertrains” originally set out in the agreement. Reports suggest though that he plans to sell the roadster under another of his group’s nameplates. Abarth, for example, would be an ideal candidate, while a fiat-branded successor to the Fiat Barchetta isn’t out of the question. Ruling out the group’s premium and off-road brands - Ferrari, Maserati and Jeep - another candidate could be Chrysler. Serious question marks remain, but Marchionne confirmed more details on the future product plans for all his brands would be given during a press conference on May 6.