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Fiat Australia boss, Pat Dougherty, says there’s more to the 124 Spider than just a case of a “badge-engineered” Mazda MX-5 Miata.

Fiat recently slapped its badge on the Mitsubishi L200 and called it “Fullback”, but company officials are saying it’s not the same story with the 124 Spider. Speaking to CarAdvice, the top brass at Fiat Australia explained the 124 Spider / MX-5 was a “joint development”, rather than just switching badges. He added the Fiat version comes with “different sheet metal, different powertrains, different look and feel.” He also said Fiat’s designers didn’t see the MX-5 while working on the 124 Spider revival, which is why “every panel on the outside is different.”

His statement was echoed by Fiat Chrysler Australia’s Group communications & media strategist, Andrew Chesterton. He reiterated the 124 Spider has different engine, gearbox, and body, adding that a lot of the interior bits and pieces above the beltline are unique.

On the other hand, Fiat brand and chief marketing officer of FCA, Olivier François, admitted there are many similarities between the two. He also mentioned the design is “obviously made in Italy” where the 1.4-liter turbo engine comes to life.

While Mazda hasn’t said a word yet about a stronger MX-5 derivative, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has already announced a beefier Abarth version is due next year. That one will likely spawn a hardtop WRC fighter for the 2017 season, but we’ll wait for an official confirmation.


Gallery: Fiat explains why 124 Spider isn't just a rebadged Miata

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