Convertibles

Fiat currency: 124 Spider pricing meets or beats MX-5 with same chassis

"Thanks for the chassis we couldn't build by ourselves, Mazda. Now we're going to steal your sales."

Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

The Fiat is also some 100 pounds heavier than the MX-5, so that extra torque is less a bonus and more a necessity.

Josh Miller/Roadshow

When Fiat launched the 124 Spider, based on the chassis of Mazda's new MX-5 Miata, it appeared to be positioned as a slightly more luxurious version of the Japanese roadster. One would assume that would carry a premium price tag, but now that Fiat's unveiled its pricing scheme, it appears to compete directly with the Mazda.

The Fiat 124 Spider will launch with three trim levels -- the base Classica ($24,995), the more luxurious Lusso ($27,495) and the hopped-up Abarth ($28,195). All those prices assume a standard six-speed manual transmission (a six-speed auto is a $1,350 option) and they don't include the $995 destination charge.

If you're feeling especially fancy and quick on the draw, you can opt for the Fiat 124 Spider Prima Edizione Lusso. This brevity-averse trim level will comprise the first 124 cars produced, offering a unique paint job and some limited-edition items, and that will run you $35,000 (again, before $995 destination).

While that's not strange by itself, it's a little weird when you look at Mazda's MX-5 pricing. The base Fiat is a bit more than the $24,915 MX-5 Sport, but the Abarth -- with its 160-horsepower, 184-pound-feet output -- is cheaper than both the MX-5 Club ($28,600) and the topped-out MX-5 Grand Touring ($30,065). It's also more powerful, as the Miata's sole engine puts out 155 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque.

Even though it appears that this could take a bite out of Mazda's own sales, it stands to reason that Mazda won't be too bothered. The car is niche to begin with, and Mazda will be building both vehicles alongside one another in Japan (the Fiat's engine is from Italy, though), so it's not like Mazda's losing out on money that it would otherwise receive hand over fist.

The factory will be busy, and extra demand should keep it that way, so it could very well be a win-win for the Japanese automaker.