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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

21 Jan 2013

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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