Mazda and Fiat sign MOU to work on Mazda’s next-gen MX-5 rear-wheel-drive architecture based roadster for

Mazda and Fiat sign MOU to work on Mazda’s next-gen MX-5 rear-wheel-drive architecture based roadster for

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In a joint venture between Mazda Motor Corporation and Fiat Group Automobiles SpA, the companies have agreed to share the development and manufacturing processes involved in the construction of a new roadster to be seen in both Mazda and Alfa Romeo marquees. This technology will be based on Mazda MX5 rear wheel drive architecture. The cars will be produced from the Mazda factory at Hiroshima beginning 2015.

According to the non binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) between these two auto majors, the Mazda and Alfa Romeo variants of the car will each be powered by proprietary engines unique to each individual brand. This joint prospect is beneficial to both companies. Mazda is currently struggling to overcome obstacles due to the higher value of the Japanese Yen and even carried out a $1.67 billion share offering in order to raise funds. Fiat on the other hand took over Chrysler in 2009 as a part of the bailout agreement. They need to increase their reach in order to be a major player in the global auto business. Shares of Mazda jumped on Wednesday following news of the possible tie up.

The final agreement is to be signed during the latter half of 2012 after which the two companies will also discuss further opportunities for cooperation in Europe.

News Release: Fiat and Mazda announce co-operation program

Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A. (Fiat) and Mazda Motor Corporation (Mazda)have signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) 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.

The study calls for both Fiat and Mazda to develop two differentiated, distinctly styled, iconic and brand-specific light weight, roadsters featuring rear-wheel drive. The Alfa Romeo and Mazda variants will each be powered by specific proprietary engines unique to each brand.

The project assumption is that both vehicles will be manufactured at Mazda’s Hiroshima, Japan, plant with production for Alfa Romeo envisaged starting 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. It is especially exciting to be collaborating with such a prestigious marque as Alfa Romeo on a new roadster based on the next-generation MX-5, which is such an iconic vehicle for Mazda and recognized as the best-selling roadster of all time.” said Takashi Yamanouchi, Mazda’s Representative Director and Chairman of the Board, President and CEO.

“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. We are appreciative of this collaboration with Mazda and look forward to maintaining a fruitful and continuous relationship.” said Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne.

The Final Agreement is expected be signed in the second-half of 2012.

Fiat and Mazda have also agreed to discuss further opportunities for co-operation in Europe.