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Mazda, Fiat formalise new Alfa sportscar

An idea with legs: The prospect of a modern rear-drive Alfa Romeo sportscar with Japanese build quality means 2015 cannot come soon enough. (Alfa Romeo 2uettottanta concept pictured)

Japanese production of MX-5 based, rear-drive Alfa Romeo roadster set for 2015

Mazda logo21 Jan 2013

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

MAZDA and Fiat have formalised an agreement announced in May last year for the Japanese company to manufacture a two-seat convertible, based on its next-generation MX-5, for Alfa Romeo from 2015.

The arrangement will result in Mazda and Alfa each offering their own distinctly styled rear-drive roadster, powered by “proprietary engines unique to each brand”.

Mazda’s product will therefore feature a drivetrain from its efficiency-oriented SkyActiv program while the Alfa – likely to bring back the Spider or Duetto nameplate – will be powered by a turbocharged MultiAir engine from the Fiat catalogue.

Mazda says the agreement “aims to enhance development and production efficiency and revitalise enthusiasm for open-top two-seater sports cars around the world”.

From Fiat’s point of view, the collaboration will enable it to “deliver a modern interpretation of the classic Alfa Romeo roadster utilising the latest technical solutions”.

For both companies, the cost savings yielded by the co-development project will go a long way to making production of relatively low-volume but image-boosting sportscars financially viable.

The deal could lead to further cost-saving vehicle-sharing opportunities between Mazda and Fiat, both of which are under-performing financially.

Mazda has already a separate alliance with Japanese competitor Toyota to share its Mazda2 light car.

The move is primarily aimed at the North American market and production will come from a new plant in Mexico that is still under construction and will also build the Mazda3 small car for the region.

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