Mazda And Fiat Joint Effort To Develop Roadster
|   Thursday, May 31, 2012
The Japanese from Mazda and the Italians from Fiat have decided to work together in creating a new Roadster for the Mazda and Alfa Romeo brands. The Alfa Romeo version is expected to be launched in 2015 a global scale. In the US it will be branded as the Alfa Spider, thus marking the return to the planet's biggest car market, and 2-seater sports cars in particular.
Both partners will put efforts into developing the car, but production will take place at the Hiroshima plant.


On Mazda's part, it will be the successor to the MX-5 Miata, a brilliant rear-wheel powered sports car. Of course, it will feature distinctive styling to set it apart from the Italian version.

Right now, a number of details remain to be settled among the two partners, with everything the memorandum of understanding contains to be cleared this year, in its second part. Note that a capital tie-up is not included in the deal.

The new car will be based on the MX-5 architecture, an engineers and designers currently studying how they will create a lightweight roadster with differentiated design and identity for each brand, an icon if you like.
Other than this job, it seems the two companies are discussing about deepening their bonds in Europe. Mazda CEO Takashi Yamanouchi said in joint statement over the Japanese public broadcaster NHK: "Establishing technology and product development alliances is one of Mazda's corporate objectives and this announcement with Fiat is an important first step. 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."

Similar thought lines are followed by Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne: "This agreement clearly demonstrates our commitment to Alfa Romeo and the determination to grow it into a truly global brand." He continued to say that by collaborating with the world leader in rear-wheel architecture the new Alfa Romeo is destined to be something exciting and stylish.

Trivia: the MX-5 was declared in 2000 by Guinness Book of World Records to be the best selling 2-seater convertible sports car in history; an extremely applauded performance for a car first launched in 1989.
The deal is a good thing for both companies for other reasons too. This way Mazda will finally cut down on loses thanks to the Italian company's factories, while Fiat will likely gain access to the Japanese lightweight tech and engine.

Both CEOs said that they are looking forward to forging new alliances in order to share the burden research and development work put on every company.

Well, this is indeed a piece of good news, and a little bit surprising, as Marchionne said back at Geneva that a mass-market manufacturer needs 6 million units old worldwide to survive and it would have increased the odds of that happening if it partnered with Suzuki. Fiat with all subsidiaries has 3.7 million units sold back in 2010, while Mazda had 1.3 million and Suzuki 2.6 million. Anyway, we hope things will work out.
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