Starting 2015, Mazda will produce an open-top two-seater sports car for Fiat's Alfa Romeo brand at its Hiroshima, Japan factory. The Final Agreement has been recently signed. The two companies have previously made a joint announcement about this impending agreement on May 23, 2012.
The new Alfa Romeo roadster is intended for the global market and it will underpinned by architecture that will underpin the next generation of the Mazda MX-5. Under the agreement, Mazda and Fiat will both develop two differentiated roadsters that will feature rear-wheel drive configurations. Each roadster will also have their unique style. Specific proprietary engines particular for each brand will be used to power the new Mazda and Alfa Romeo roadsters.
Through this new contractual deal, Mazda seeks to improve development and production efficiency and revive enthusiasm for open-top two-seater sports cars worldwide. What Fiat gets from this collaboration is that it will be allowed to offer a modern interpretation of the classic Alfa Romeo roadster that employ the newest technical solutions, thereby allowing Alfa Romeo to attain its estimated targets by 2016.
On May 23, 2012, Fiat and Mazda announced a new project in which the carmakers would jointly work on the development a small, rear-drive roadster. Despite sharing most of their platform components, the respective roadsters for each carmaker will look and drive as per each brand’s distinct characters.
The Mazda version of the new roadster – highly expected to be still dubbed as the MX-5 – should be powered by one of the Japanese carmaker’s SkyActiv engine. Power would also be sent from the engine to the rear wheels through a transmission usually employed by Mazda.
On the other hand, the Alfa Romeo version of the new roadster is expected to be called as Spider, as was the moniker of the lightweight Italian roadster that made its debut in the 1960s. Alfa Romeo, as part of the Fiat Group, has an access to wide range of engines and transmissions from the Italian carmaker and its US subsidiary Chyrsler.
Interestingly, the original MX-5 is considered by many as a copy of the Lotus Elan. In fact, many consider the MX-5 as the spiritual successor to the Elan. However, the Elan is also considered as the copy of the Fiat Spider. This means that the MX-5 actually borrows from the Spider. Decades later, the MX-5 and the soon-to-be Spider will not just borrow from each other, but share a number of components.
The new Fiat and Mazda roadsters are expected to be produced at Mazda's Hiroshima site in Japan in 2015.