If the one thing stopping you from buying an Abarth-spec Fiat model is the nagging question of whether you’ll get free track time out of the deal, consider your question answered.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced yesterday that anyone buying or leasing a Fiat 124 Spider Abarth or 500 Abarth model has a year to sign up for the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving, free of charge. Your tiny turbo won’t know what hit it. (Read More…)
I’ve been glued to various screens watching The Games of the Thirty-First Olympiad, much like many of you, I assume. Streaming some lesser-known sports, such as kayak slalom, which resembles a water autocross save the distinct lack of Tilley hats, has helped me get through slow days at the office.
But like any other time I’m watching a broadcast from another land, my petrol-addled mind wanders to the streets outside the televised event’s venue. I daydream about the cars parked there. What are those people driving that I can’t get here?
The fourth-generation ND Mazda MX-5 Miata is undoubtedly, indisputably, undeniably the best addition you could make to your garage.
Some people disagree.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reported 480 U.S. sales of the Fiat 124 Spider in July 2016. The Spider is a thoroughly transformed version of Mazda’s fourth Miata: different body, distinct suspension tuning, unique powerplant.
With the 124 Spider’s arrival in the United States, 13 months of Mazda MX-5 Miata sales growth came to a screeching halt. (Read More…)
Fiat is marketing its new crossover as bigger, more powerful, and ready for action.
If you caught Fiat’s Super Bowl ad for the 500X, it relies heavily on sex appeal. The implication: that the 500X is more … erm … “excited” than the 500. So I was intrigued when a rental car branch recently told me the only SUV they had left was the 2016 Fiat 500X.
Nearly one-third of the workforce at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ plant in Kragujevac, Serbia, was laid off last week because of poor Fiat 500L demand.
In the United States, the 500L is by no means the only Fiat that isn’t selling.
Besides the 500L’s sharp U.S. sales decline — year-over-year volume has tumbled each month in the last nine months — the core 500 model which brought Fiat back to life in the U.S. has lost nearly half its volume this year, a 6,288-unit loss through only five months.
Meanwhile, the expectation that a crossover could make up for the poorly received 500L and rapidly aging 500 turned out to be false. A crossover, yes, that will be the ticket. Surely a crossover could work wonders. A relative of the Jeep Renegade, only prettier, could definitely restore Fiat to the peak glory days of 2014.
Glory days, when with two models in its lineup, Fiat USA failed to match its stated goal of 50,000 annual sales for the 500 alone? Of course, that Sergio Marchionne sales forecast was way off target.
Just as the 500L and 500X have missed the mark, as well. (Read More…)
Despite Pope Francis giving the model a thumbs up, sales of the ungainly looking Fiat 500L continue their downward slide, with the automaker announcing it will cut one of three shifts at its Serbian factory.
The cuts made at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ assembly plant in Kragujevac, Serbia amount to nearly 30 percent of Fiat Serbia’s workforce, according to Reuters (via Automotive News Europe). When all three lines were running, the plant employed 3,100 people.
Blame the Fiat 500L’s sinking European fortunes and failure to catch on in the U.S. (Read More…)
The new Fiat 124 Spider may be thought of as a spiritual successor to the classic Fiat 2000 Spider. It’s no secret, however, that the new car is really a re-skinned Mazda MX-5 Miata powered by the same engine as the current Fiat 500 Abarth. The only parts truly new to the Fiat are some exterior panels. That’s not a bad thing as the new Miata seems to be quite amazing in all regards.
The question, despite Jack’s opinions, is whether the Abarth engine and some suspension tuning will give the 124 Spider that much coveted Italian flair, the sales numbers Fiat desperately needs, and the passion and drama that we all love so much. For better or worse, that’s been somewhat absent from the Miata over the years.
To answer that question, and to discover the ingredients in that secret Italian sauce, I recently spent some time in the classic Fiat roadster.
If you weren’t in on the secret, much of this morning’s presentation at the Park Hyatt Aviara would have made no sense. A series of four FCA personnel stood up to talk about the new 124 Spider, which was behind them to stage right. On stage left was a pristine Euro-bumpered 124 Sport Spider from the late ’60. Each of them talked about “what’s changed on the car.”
“It’s five inches longer, with all-new exterior sheetmetal,” one presenter said. “It’s got an aluminum panel in the folding roof, and thicker rear glass,” another noted. “The suspension tuning is completely different,” stated yet another. I could see the confusion on the faces of some of the older auto journos from the newspapers. It’s five inches longer than the original 124? It’s got thicker rear glass? The suspension is different? Well, duh, right? For more than an hour, Fiat’s marketing, styling and engineering personnel talked about “what’s changed on the car.”
There was the word that never escaped anybody’s lips, not a single time. Even when I raised my hand to ask “how the weight compares,” I couldn’t quite bring myself to say the word. But we can say it here on TTAC: Miata. The new Fiat 124 Spider is based on the ND-generation Mazda Miata, the car that your humble author drove in Spain a year and a half ago and which has been quite justifiably hailed as the finest small roadster of this century. The 124 Spider is assembled right next to the Miata in Japan, with a “J” VIN. The primary difference: where the Miata has a 2.0-liter Skyactiv normally-aspirated four-cylinder, the 124 has the turbo 1.4-liter MultiAir four-banger from the Fiat 500 Abarth, built in Italy and shipped to Mazda’s assembly line.
Fiat would prefer that we didn’t mention the Miata. But, as we’ll see, the 124 Spider need not fear any comparisons with its store-branded sibling. Quite the contrary, in fact.