While Alfa Romeo is expected to unveil the 4C Spider at the Geneva Motor Show this week, reports are now suggesting that its other roadster project is being called into question. That project is a joint venture between Fiat and Mazda, which was set to produce a version of its next MX-5 Miata as an Alfa Romeo, and was even changing the design to accommodate Alfa's requirements.
Now it appears, however, that the whole project in doubt. The problem seems to stem from Sergio Marchionne's pronouncements that, as long as he's in charge, there won't be an Alfa Romeo built outside of Italy.
The principal poses some problems, but also leaves some windows open. For one, it could mean that the Alfa project would be postponed until after Marchionne retires, but that's not expected to happen any time soon. For another, it could mean that the Alfa roadster would be developed by Mazda and based on its architecture, but assembled back in Italy – although the deal is said to call for Mazda to do the manufacturing. The prospect that our colleagues at at Automotive News Europe are betting on, however, is that Marchionne will switch its commitment to Mazda to another brand.
Eliminating Ferrari, Maserati and Lancia as possibilities, ANE figures the project could be transferred to either Fiat or the Abarth performance brand. Bertone's Fiat Barchetta concept looked promising in 2007, and Abarth was long rumored to get its own roadster – and both manufacture outside of Italy as it is. But for that matter, we wonder why – with Fiat and Chrysler now under the same umbrella – it couldn't be done instead as a Dodge or SRT. The Copperhead concept of 1997 and the Demon of 2008 did show some promise, after all. What do you think?