The Mazda MX-5 or Miata as it is known in some markets, is the largest-selling roadster of all time.
Mazda and Fiat have signed an MoU which will see broad-ranging co-operation between the two marques, beginning with a new roadster, which will develop into the next-generation MX-5 and whose architecture will be used by Alfa Romeo as well. The two companies issues a joint statement:
Mazda Motor Corporation (Mazda) and Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A. (Fiat) have signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the development and manufacturing of a new roadster for the Mazda and Alfa Romeo marques based on Mazda’s next-generation MX-5 rear-wheel-drive architecture.
The study calls for both Mazda and Fiat to develop two differentiated, distinctly styled, iconic and brand-specific light weight, roadsters featuring rear-wheel drive. The Mazda and Alfa Romeo variants will each be powered by specific proprietary engines unique to each brand.
The project assumption is that both vehicles will be manufactured at Mazda’s Hiroshima, Japan, plant with production for Alfa Romeo envisaged starting in 2015.
“Establishing technology and product development alliances is one of Mazda’s corporate objectives and this announcement with Fiat is an important first step in that direction. 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.” said Takashi Yamanouchi, Mazda's Representative Director and Chairman of the Board, President and CEO.
“This agreement clearly demonstrates our 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. We are appreciative of this collaboration with Mazda and look forward to maintaining a fruitful and continuous
relationship.” said Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne.
The Final Agreement is expected to be signed in the second-half of 2012. Mazda and Fiat have also agreed to discuss further opportunities for co-operation in Europe.
This is a significant development, especially for Fiat, as it is seeking global collaborations to develop and expand into newer geographies. It's particularly interesting to note that Fiat already have invested a significant amount of money in US auto maker Chrysler. Ford Motor Company also holds a substnatial stake in Japanese car maker Mazda, but the deal between Fiat and Mazda has the blessing of Ford.
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