Mazda-Fiat tie-up will lead to new sports cars
The cars will be built by Mazda in its Hiroshima, Japan plant and be based on the next MX-5 roadster.
According to a statement from both brands, the study calls for Fiat and Mazda to develop two differentiated, distinctly-styled, iconic and brand-specific lightweight, rear-wheel drive roadsters.
Fiat will sell its car as an Alfa Romeo and it has been suggested that it will be marketed as the Alfa Spider, returning the brand to the two-seat rear-drive sports car market for effectively the first time since 1993. The US will be a prime market for the car as Alfa seeks to gain a firm foothold in America.
Intriguingly, the Alfa and the Mazda versions of the car will be powered by different engines produced by their own brands.
According to Mazda CEO Takashi Yamanouchi the agreement is an important first step in the brand’s stated goal of establishing technology and product development alliances.
“It is especially exciting to be collaborating with such a prestigious marque as Alfa Romeo on a new roadster based on the next-generation MX-5, which is such an iconic vehicle for Mazda and recognized as the best-selling roadster of all time,” Yamanouchi adds.
Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne dubs the agreement a clear demonstration of Fiat’s commitment to Alfa Romeo and the determination to grow it into a truly global brand.
“By partnering with Mazda, we will be co-operating with the recognized leader in compact rear-drive vehicle architectures in order to deliver an exciting and stylish roadster in the Alfa Romeo tradition,” Marchionne adds.
Signing of the final agreement for the partnership is expected in the middle of the year. The statement adds that production of the Alfa version is planned for 2015 – no date is given for the Mazda, but it is thought to be before the Alfa, in 2014.
Both brands have also confirmed that they will look at other opportunities to work together.
Words by: Andrew Charman