Current generation Mazda MX-5 is the world's best selling roadster
Mazda and Fiat have agreed a co-operation for the development and manufacturing of a new roadster for the Mazda and Alfa Romeo marques based on Mazda’s next-generation MX-5 rear-wheel-drive architecture.
A statement from the two companies said they would develop "two differentiated, distinctly styled, iconic and brand-specific light weight, roadsters featuring rear-wheel drive.
"The Mazda and Alfa Romeo variants will each be powered by specific proprietary engines unique to each brand."
Both cars will be manufactured at Mazda’s Hiroshima, Japan, plant. Mazda has not confirmed a production date, but it is expected to be 2014, while Alfa has said it envisages starting production 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 Takashi Yamanouchi, Mazda's chairman.
Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said: “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.
The agreement currently takes the form of a memorandum of understanding. The final agreement is expected to be signed in the second-half of 2012. Mazda and Fiat have also agreed to discuss further opportunities for co-operation in Europe.