Mazda and Alfa Romeo parent Fiat sign new roadster deal

Trevor Hofmann - CAP staff
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Last year on May 23rd, Italian automaker Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A. (Fiat) and Japanese automaker Mazda Motor Corporation (Mazda) announced the a strategic agreement to produce a new open-top two-seater sports car at Mazda's Hiroshima, Japan assembly plant starting in 2015, to replace the current MX-5 (Miata) and Alfa Romeo Spyder. This week the two automakers have signed the final agreement, commencing a cooperative arrangement that will hopefully allow these two niche models to remain profitability amid a tumultuous market.

"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 at the time of the announcement last May. "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."

While some Alfa Romeo fans (dubbed Alfisti) will chagrin at the thought of a Japanese-built Spyder, a return to rear-wheel drive should have sports car aficionados everywhere in collective approval. Also, while the two roadsters will share numerous underpinnings, reducing development and production costs and therefore keeping pricing within reach of mainstream buyers, they'll feature completely unique styling as well as brand-specific engines.

"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 during the initial announcement in May of last year. "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."
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

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

Organizations: Mazda

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