Fiat Group has signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Mazda to develop and manufacture a new rear-wheel drive roadster based on the MX-5 for Alfa Romeo and the Japanese brand.
Both manufacturers have stated that each version will be distinctly styled to fit with each brand and will run with 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.
Takashi Yamanouchi, Mazda's representative director and chairman of the board, president and CEO, said: "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.”
Sergio Marchionne, Fiat CEO, said: "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.”
The final agreement between the two companies 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.