A MIATA STYLED BY ITALIANS
One of America’s Best Cheap Sports Cars May Be Going Away Soon
One of America’s great cheap sports cars is apparently about to disappear. Fiat CEO Olivier Francois recently told British-based publication Autocar that the Fiat 124 Spider convertible was unlikely to return for a new generation.
The Fiat 124 Spider was a great idea for a two-seater convertible on paper. Take the rock-solid Miata platform, add Italian style and a turbocharged engine, and make it available with a manual transmission for less than $30,000. Fiat executed that formula, but no one is buying them. The 124 Spider is America’s least popular car, and even incredible deals can’t get them off dealer lots.
Why has the 124 Spider not done well? A couple of factors. Fiat’s bold re-entry into the American market has fallen flat. Americans don’t trust the brand. Cars like the 500 and the 124 Spider, while stylish, are not the sorts of large, practical vehicles Americans traditionally buy in large numbers. And Fiat’s attempts to get more practical have underwhelmed profoundly.
The two-seater convertible market is a small niche. Far fewer young adults are celebrating their carefree stable employment by buying impractical cars. For a two-seater to work, it needs to offer premium performance or a premium pedigree. The 124 Spider did neither.
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