Next-generation Mazda MX-5 will have an Alfa Romeo counterpart

Andross Moonah - CAP staff
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Mazda's MX-5 Miata was first introduced in 1989 as a 1990 model and has since earned a reputation as one of the best sports cars of all time. The current third-generation MX-5 arrived in 2005 as a 2006 model, and industry observers have been speculating about when the seven-year-old design will be replaced with a fourth-generation model.

That speculation was abated recently thanks to an announcement by Mazda Motor Corporation that it has signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A., which owns Alfa Romeo Automobiles S.p.A. The MoU declares the development and manufacture of a new roadster for both Mazda and Alfa Romeo that will be based on the next-generation MX-5 rear-wheel-drive architecture. Though both roadsters will share a lightweight rear-wheel drive layout, the styling and engines of each will be inherent to their respective brands.

"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." said Takashi Yamanouchi, Mazda's president and CEO. "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."

Mazda has also announced a "project assumption" that both roadsters will be manufactured at Mazda's Hiroshima, Japan, plant. Production of the Alfa Romeo version is envisioned to begin in 2015.

"This agreement clearly demonstrates our commitment to Alfa Romeo and the determination to grow it into a truly global brand," said Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne. "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."

In regard to Marchionne's mention of a continuous relationship, a final agreement between Mazda Motor Corporation and Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A. is expected to be signed in the second half of 2012. Mazda and Fiat have also agreed to discuss other opportunities for cooperation in Europe.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Roadster, Alfa Romeo, Mazda, Miata, MX-5,

Organizations: Mazda

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