By on December 24, 2020

Fiat's 124 Spider

Fiat’s 124 Spider is about to receive its curtain call, and unlike the scene in Don Giovanni where Don meets a horrendous fate and is dragged off to hell, the Fiat 124 Spider is going out without emotion and little fanfare.  

Fiat's 124 Spider

In a press release, FCA Group said, “The Fiat 124 Spider and the Fiat 500L will be discontinued after the 2020 model year,” thus ending the four-year run for the front-engine, rear-drive, two-place roadster manufactured in Japan by Mazda, alongside the MX-5 Miata at their Hiroshima plant, as reported by Roadshow.

Fiat's 124 Spider

Nostalgia being what it was, FCA revived the 124 name and with it the Pininfarina design cues of the original Fiat 124 Sport Spider, which was manufactured from 1966 to 1985. In 2012, FCA’s Alfa Romeo subsidiary and Mazda announced a joint venture to produce a common rear-drive platform with two distinctly different powertrains and bodies that would be unique to each brand.

Fiat's 124 Spider

With the late FCA chairman Sergio Marchionne decreeing in 2014 that Alfas could only be made in Italy, FCA switched their roadster to the Fiat brand, bringing it to market in 2016 as the Fiat 124 Sport using the Mazda MX-5 Miata’s drivetrain and chassis. Powered by a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 160 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, the car never quite caught on with sports car enthusiasts, trailing the MX-5s sales during its lifespan.

Fiat's 124 Spider

Neither penne arrabbiata nor a tasty udon, the Fiat 124 Sport’s struggles to find an audience are over.

“For the 2021 model year, the Fiat lineup will feature the Fiat 500X crossover, which offers unique and functional Italian design, standard all-wheel-drive capability, 9-speed automatic transmission, 30 mpg highway and best-in-class 210 lb-ft of torque,” Fiat said.

[Images: FCA]

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53 Comments on “Fiat’s 124 Spider Reaches the End of the Road in 2020...”


  • avatar
    Fred

    I thought the big complaint of the Miata was lack of power? So here it is and still no sale. I’m coming to the conclusion that internet doesn’t know what it’s talking about. Including me probably.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      More power doesn’t do much for people if it is still slower than the Mazda.

      However,it wouldn’t have really mattered even if it had 270hp at the same price. The market for this kind of car is nearly dead and the Fiat brand in the US never really got off the ground.

      • 0 avatar
        JoeV

        Right on the money. Imagine Marchionne selected Laura Soave VW auto show manager to be CEO of Fiat in the US. Hmmm wonder how that happened? She then launches a disastrous ad campaign featuring JLo. Along the way, she has an affair with the ad agency guy, money goes missing, and she’s forced out (shortly after, Fed-Mogul hires her as CMO, wtf?).

        Fiat then launches Abarth with (instead of performance and racing heritage) drug-addicted, AIDS afflicted, hooker aficionado Charlie Sheen.

        It’s almost like someone was being paid to destroy Fiat from day one.

    • 0 avatar
      FerrariLaFerrariFace

      Some people understand that there’s more to a car than just a horsepower number. That said, the 124 only had marginally more power, and it didn’t come on until way up in the rev range. Plus it’s heavier. That made the Miata faster overall. And as of 2018, the Miata got a hp bump that gave it almost a 20hp edge over the Fiat.

      The Fiat was a loser from day 1. Take a Miata, add weight, make it arguably uglier, and then replace a brilliantly reliable engine with an Italian turd. Leave it to Fiat.

  • avatar
    65corvair

    The problem is it says Fiat on the hood. Last spring our local dealer had two two years new Fiats in stock.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    It takes Toyota-style dedication, that is, years and years of steady improvement, to build a brand’s reputation. Fiat wasn’t willing to do that and, perhaps, it couldn’t.

    I actually prefer the looks of the 124 to those of the Miata.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    I wonder how many are in inventory here in the US and if there will be any screaming deals at the finish line?

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I’ve heard that some dealers still have brand new 2 year old 124s sitting on their lots. Perhaps a motivated dealer could be found?

      I like that it’s a turbo 4 but it needed to be about 100 hp and a 100 lb ft of torque to distinguish it from the Miata. Especially now that the Miata has a revised 2.0 and apparently makes power from practically idle to redline.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Cars.com shows 571 124s left, all 2020 models. At the current sales rate, this is about a 4-month supply.

      Nearly all of them show big discounts, but that’s true for all Fiats.

      Oddly, Fiat shows *no* 2021 cars in its US inventory, so I wonder if this might be it for the entire brand. Sell off the 1100-some cars they have, and walk away.??

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      Here’s one with a May 2019 build date still for sale with $8,000 in cash on the hood….

      https://www.landmarkchryslerjeep.net/new/FIAT/2019-FIAT-124+Spider-Springfield-IL-15ec9fe30a0e0ae81708c05b8119e886.htm

      It probably arrived at the dealer over 18 months ago and has been on the lot ever since. That’s a long time. A very, very long time.

      I’m sure that Chrysler Jeep dealer would not be crying if the whole brand disappeared and they could get out of that franchise agreement.

  • avatar
    FThorn

    I love/lust those things.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    So I wonder ..is an LS swap pretty much the same as an ND? These things are cheap used.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I would choose the Mazda version over this simply because of the more reliable Mazda engine. I would also take a manual for the fun and reliability.

  • avatar
    Imagefont

    Great car of course and good looking, but…
    absolutely crap motor. What were they thinking?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Because Marchionne insisted it being “Italian” and therefore used his own motors instead of Mazda’s.

      • 0 avatar
        Garrett

        The 2.0 Multiair in the Alfa Romeos is a great engine.

        What they really should have done is put the Alfa name on it. The Alfa Romeo Spider was far more well known than the Fiat 125 in the USA.

        • 0 avatar
          Lynchenstein

          That was the plan originally, until there was some internal/labor issues that forced them to brand it a Fiat. I can’t really imagine that calling it an Alfa would have made much of a difference however.

          • 0 avatar
            Garrett

            First time I picked up my son in my Alfa, one of the teachers starts talking about how much she loved the Spider.

            Hell, a mint 1970s Alfa Romeo Spider with the mechanical fuel injection remains the “one that got away” in my automotive adventures.

            The only time I felt cooler than on that test drive was when I started dating my wife.

  • avatar

    One thing I don’t understand about this thing: how it can be unreliable if it is made by Mazda in Japan of all the places? No, it is not a true FIAT. Crafty hands of Italian workers did not touch this car, there is no drama in owning this roadster.

    • 0 avatar
      FerrariLaFerrariFace

      Most of the car is Japanese, but the engine is 100% built in Italy by Italian hands. If you want a car to be unreliable, that’s page one of the rulebook.

  • avatar
    DAC17

    The only remaining question is whether it will be a classic or an orphan?

  • avatar
    EX35

    LS swap would be amazing. Love the looks.

  • avatar
    3SpeedAutomatic

    Wanted to buy a used FIAT 500 as a second car. However, feel I will be stuck with an orphan brand similar to Suzuki or Daewoo and thankful to dedicated web sites and owner groups to scavenge parts and service. Sounds like FCA will clear the house of Chrysler and Dodge as well.

    Better squirrel away parts spare parts before PSA swings the axe.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    Best vehicle in FIAT portfolio. Abarth 500 was very fun it was already gone.
    Panda 4WD is excellent in it’s very narrow niche & it unfortunately did not make the trip to North America.

    FIAT never had a chance here offering just a couple niche vehicles.

    • 0 avatar

      Sadly, the relaunch of the FIAT brand here was badly botched. Good concept poorly executed. Could have worked as fun, AFFORDABLE brand. Where is the Panda, the Tipo and the Toro? Launching with only an overpriced boutique city car (500), then adding that hideous (and poor quality) 500L thing was going to be a recipe for disaster. You only get one chance to make a first impression, and they blew it big time.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    This Fiat is one of the best Southern California chick magnets around the beach. The Fiat with a puppy is even better. The Mazda Miata does not do it with the girls.

  • avatar
    6250Claimer

    Fix It Again Tadayoshi

  • avatar

    ““Fiat’s 124 Spider Reaches the End of the Road”

    It proves that Earth is flat. If it was round there will be no end of the road. Is Universe is flat? Cosmologists say yes, its geometry is Euclidian as far as we can observe.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I like the looks of the 124 but the Fiat drivetrain makes this car a nonstarter. FCA quality overall has been dismal and hopefully Stelantis improves overall quality. Unfortunately GM quality has been rapidly declining and Ford seems to be falling as well. Say what you want about Toyota being bland and boring but at least Toyota has maintained quality. Mazda has been improving their quality but Honda seems to be slipping quality wise but even Honda is still better than the Big 2 1/2. Vehicles have become more complex and the race to lower costs with less quality parts have brought overall quality down in recent years.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Maybe not so much the components as GM making some components on their vehicles harder to access. Evaporator cores on air conditioning systems on GM trucks and suvs are inside the dash instead of under the hood requiring tearing the dashboard apart to replace the evaporator core. Loose bolts on the differentials of newer Silverados and Sierras causing differentials to fail. GM and Ford are also enclosing water pumps inside engines with the timing chains and belts. These changes probably save time on the manufacturing but they either increase labor costs for repairs or in the case of the enclosed water pumps can cause engine failure if the water pump fails. The fit and finish of GMs have improved. But GM and Ford still have better overall quality then most FCAs and Fiats.

  • avatar
    EX35

    Are the Japanese makes not doing the same? Seems only a matter of time, right?

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Some of the Japanese are doing the same thing especially Nissan but that doesn’t make it good. Do you as a consumer want to pay more for less quality? I don’t expect a vehicle to last forever but it should go 100k without expensive repairs. As a consumer you can choose to not buy a product and vote with your dollars.

  • avatar
    EX35

    Totally agree. I just assumed every make was building vehicles just like the big 2.5 these days due to similar parts suppliers.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Agree that many of the car makers use the same suppliers even some of the Japanese use the same or similar parts. Some of the designs where components are located make it harder to work on and make repairs more costly. Some of the designs are to make cars assembly easier and save time on assembly such as the air conditioning evaporator core in the dashboard or the water pump and timing chain or timing belt are inside the engine thus saving space under the hood but making it harder to access in the case of the air conditioning evaporator core or making component failure catastrophic to the engine in case of the enclosed water pump. As you stated before that eventually many of the auto manufacturers are going to do the same but as a consumer I will avoid vehicles with known problems or designs that make repairs more expensive.

  • avatar
    NoID

    This could have, would have, should have been a Dodge if not for Sergio’s ill-fated dedication to making Fetch, I mean Fiat, happen. Overall his marriage of Fiat and Chrysler was positive, but even a well-sighted squirrel loses an acorn here and there and trying desperately to push Fiat’s invasion past the beachhead was doomed from the start. I hope Peugeot doesn’t make the same mistakes.

    Why FCA doesn’t just re-badge it for 2021 is beyond me. I’m sure Mazda would appreciate the continued plant utilization, and Dodge could use something in that space to further build its performance image. An R/T or SRT version of this thing with a proper powertrain would be bitchin’, and I’m sure by now the platform is paid for between 4 years of production and synergies with Mazda.

  • avatar
    Imagefont

    It’s just plain sad that FCA hasn’t been unable to bring compelling products to market in the US. Even this good looking Mazda based convertible, handicapped by a lousy motor, didn’t sell. The Dart was a flop. The Renegade is a horrible car trying to be relevant by ripping off the Jeep name. Take two companies with poor reputations for quality, continue to produce low quality vehicles, then try every trick in the book to sell “special” vehicles at high margin and guess what – no one is fooled. Stellantis isn’t going to do any better or introduce new dynamism into this turd of a company by introducing more low quality platforms into a market that doesn’t want them. VW has a good reputation in most of Europe and Scandinavia because they don’t know any better. PSA-FCA – Stellantis – whatever will continue the decline unmarked by any meaningful changes. They’re just rearranging the deck chairs at this point.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    I’ve always loved the design of the Spider, and this version is gorgeous as well. I don’t fit very well in one (too tall), but I’d love to grab one before they’re gone.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Agree whether you call it FCA and now Stellantis it is meaningless until the quality is improved. The Mazda Miata is a very reliable car but with a turbo charged Fiat motor in it it is a turd.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Why do i believe that somewhere, deep in the bowels of the FCA building in Auburn Hills there are a couple of 24-Spiders with hemis? The Mopar guys run that way. Send some hemi’s to Japan, send the modern Shelby’s back to America. I honestly don’t know if FCA could stuff a hemi in a Spider but I like the idea. For about 45K. Or a Pentastar for about 40K. Just use a Ram engine in the Spider.

  • avatar
    Figaro1991

    I owned a 500 Abarth hatchback for a few years and actually never needed any warranty work. It always put a smile on my face and worked great as a daily driver. I also leased an Alfa Giulia and loved it. I don’t work for FCA, I just really like Alfa Romeos and figured I would do my little part to support them.

    That said, Fiat really botched their US marketing. Their product mix was always screwed up. When they launched the 500 back in 2012, for example, they brought over far too many expensive loaded automatics but were selling every cheap manual they could get… so their inventory languished. The 500 was a fun little $16k runabout but at $20k+ didn’t make any sense.

    The 124, similarly, follows the typical Chrysler playbook of automatic-heavy production, but people don’t buy 2-seat sports cars for commuting boredom. The one posted above that’s 2 years old and still new in inventory has an auto trans.

    Toss in a mediocre and sparse dealer network for Fiat that are usually sharing space with a Chrysler/Jeep showroom more focused on selling Jeeps than European imports, and you just don’t have a recipe for success, sadly.

    I have owned two Miatas in the past, one for more than 12 years, and love them for what they are and never wanted more power. I like the styling of the 124 a lot and think the 1.4 Turbo is a good engine, but am just not in a place in life right now where a 2-seater makes much sense.

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