Roadster in an Italian suit

With the high cost of developing a new car design, it is common for car manufacturers to do badge engineering. They share the vehicle underpinnings and development expenses for a new car, but each manufacturer will build a unique body, interior and sometimes implant their own powertrain into the vehicle. It helps them to defuse the development costs across more cars to make the new car financially viable.

A case in point is the Mazda MX-5 and the Fiat 124 Spider. Both cars are built on the Mazda MX-5 ND chassis, and both cars are made at the Mazda manufacture plant in Hiroshima, Japan. The difference between both cars is the body design and powertrain.

The Mazda MX-5 uses the Kodo design, common to modern Mazda cars, with a naturally aspirated 1.5-litre or 2.0-litre engine. In contrast, the Fiat 124 Spider uses design cues from the 1970s Fiat 124 and has a 1.4-litre turbocharged engine. The result is two vehicles built on the same platform but with very different driving characteristics.

Since the Fiat 124 Spider's release in 2016, it has been interesting to read press articles that compare it to the Mazda MX-5, in some misguided comparison to determine which car is better. I have a bias towards the Mazda MX-5, but it appears that not everyone would agree with my sentiment.

Cars Guide proclaimed: "A case of original is not always the best. The Mazda MX-5 is a great car but the Fiat 124 Spider ups the ante with a sportier bent."

However, I prefer what Car & Driver magazine said: "A turbocharger and an Italian suit don't make a better Mazda MX-5. What isn't available at the Fiat store for any price is the purity of the Mazda's driving behaviour—that unabashed playfulness we expect in a small roadster. We're sure plenty of people could be happy with the Fiat 124 Spider. We're just not sure they wouldn't be happier in a Mazda MX-5."

OK, my preference for the Mazda MX-5 is clearly showing. If badge engineering is needed to keep my favourite roadster alive, I will have to accept it wearing an Italian suit, but I don't have to like it.
Fascinating. One of my buddies who's a car nut has pointed out supposed luxury cars that were actually badge engineered iwth other non-luxury models. 

But that was just a casual mention. They didn't give me this level of detail. 

The first paragraph of this reminds me a lot of software engineering lol.
2021-04-13 16:47:31
The badge engineering of cars is more common than you think. In particular, now that the car manufactures are merging into bigger entities.
2021-04-14 11:38:13

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