Fiat and Mazda Agree: Mazda MX-5 To Become Platform For Alfa Romeo Roadster
By Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor
The Auto Channel
THE HAGUE - January 18, 2013: The rumors, that Mazda will build a roadster for Alfa Romeo have been circulating for quite some time. In May 2012, Mazda Motor and Alfa’s parent Fiat signed a Letter of Understanding to co-develop such a new model based on the new MX-5 platform. Today both car manufacturers announced, that the Final Agreement has been signed and that. Mazda will produce a roadster for Alfa Romeo at its plant in Hiroshima, Japan, starting from 2015.
Mazda already planned the successor for the MX-5, but does not want to give any information about the timing. I take it that it will be on the market well before the launch of the Alfa in 2015.
Alfa’s open-top two-seater will be built for the global market on the new platform that is already under development by Mazda. But both Mazda and Alfa roadsters will have their own identity inside and out, own engines and transmissions and own suspension set-up. Earlier, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said that he wants Alfa Romeo to become a sporty premium brand. Since the Brera models were discontinued in 2010, the brand does not have a real sporty model anymore, except for the costly 8C Spider. That said, I think the new roadster’s design will have a styling that refers to the 8C.
With a modern interpretation of the classic Alfa Romeo roadster, the Fiat Group hopes to revive the Alfa brand and achieve its goals by 2016.
To work together with Mazda, the Italians make sure that the base of the new roadster will be undisputed. The MX-5 is the leader in the segment of the compact rear-drive sports cars for nearly two decades. In total nearly one million units have been built. Mazda does not give any information when the fourth generation of the MX-5 is planned to be introduced.
For the Japanese brand, being a small and independent manufacturer, the cooperation is a welcome step in its objective to get back into black figures after years of losses. Therefore, I think that we may also expect further cooperation between the Japanese and Italian brands.