Mazda and Fiat to team up on new sports car

23 May 2012

The 2012 MX-5 Miata from Mazda. Image courtesy of Mazda

Mazda and Fiat are set to collaborate on the development and manufacturing of a new convertible roadster sports car for both the Mazda and Alfa Romeo ranges. The design of the car will be based on Mazda’s two-seater roadster, the MX-5, which is also known as the Miata in global markets.

The two auto giants have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) to pioneer the rear-wheel-drive sports car for both brands.

It was back in 1989 that Mazda first introduced the MX-5 model at the Chicago Auto Show.

In a statement from Mazda, the auto manufacturer said both it and Fiat will develop two distinctly styled and brand-specific roadsters that will feature rear-wheel drives.

And the Mazda and Alfa Romeo variants will each be powered by specific proprietary engines unique to each brand.

It’s being proposed that both vehicles will be manufactured at Mazda’s Hiroshima plant. The plan is to start production of the Alfa Romeo version of the sports car 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,” said Mazda boss Takashi Yamanouchi.

And Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said the agreement with Mazda demonstrates Fiat’s commitment to grow Alfa Romeo into a global brand.

“By partnering with Mazda, we will be co-operating with the recognised leader in compact rear-drive vehicle architectures in order to deliver an exciting and stylish roadster in the Alfa Romeo tradition,” said Marchionne.

Fiat and Mazda are expected to sign the final agreement in the second half of 2012.

Meanwhile, the duo have also indicated their plans to discuss further opportunities for co-operation in Europe.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic