Mazda has entered into a corporation agreement with Fiat Group Automobiles, the owner of Alfa Romeo, which will see the development of an Alfa Romeo roadster, to be based on Mazda’s next-generation MX-5 rear-wheel-drive platform.
Under the non-binding Memorandum of Understanding, each brand’s model will be distinctly styled and powered by their own proprietary engines. Both vehicles will be manufactured at Mazda’s Hiroshima plant in Japan.
It is likely that the Alfa Romeo in question could be the 4C roadster (concept pictured here), previewed last year at the Geneva International Motor Show.
“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.
If the final agreement, which is expected to be signed in the 2nd half of 2012, is inked, it would mean the Japanese company would be able to share the development costs of what really is a niche model in the company’s line-up.
This is crucial to the company’s survival, as Mazda has been struggling financially since Ford Motor Corporation sold all but two percent of its 33% stake in the company. It has been actively seeking partners and is also trying to sell its latest SkyActiv technologies.
The next-generation MX-5 is due to make its debut around 2014, while the Alfa Romeo roadster is scheduled to go into production the following year.