The next-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata will have a sibling, but it won’t be a Mazda, it will be an Alfa Romeo. The Japanese automaker has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Alfa parent Fiat to co-develop a roadster based on the MX-5 platform that is expected to see production in Mazda’s Hiroshima factory, with the Alfa version coming in 2015.
Pegged as “a successor to the MX-5,” the production date will push the next-gen Miata’s arrival back a bit. In 2010 it was predicted we’d see the new Miata this year, with its 2,200-pound weight target, 50/50 weight distribution and potential twin-backbone chassis structure. Obviously that isn’t happening.
Whenever the new model and its Alfa mate do come, each brand will get “differentiated, distinctly styled, iconic and brand-specific light weight roadsters featuring rear-wheel drive,” using in-house engines provided by their own brands.
The link-up is excellent news for Mazda, the small, independent company searching for just these kinds of “technology and product development alliances” to help rescue it from years of losses, and supporting CEO Takashi Yamanouchi’s assertion that it’s “partner or die.” The negotiations also include further cooperation between the two brands in Europe.
Fiat head Sergio Marchionne’s search for partnerships to provide scale is no secret, nor his desire to improve Fiat’s position in Asia, which Mazda might also be able to assist with. And the idea of a properly sporting Alfa would be welcome round the world; with the loss of the Brera GT and Brera Spider in 2010, the Alfa line is down to two hatchbacks and a long-in-the-tooth sedan, none of them particularly sporty. With the 8C Spider beyond most budgets and the 4C still living in the ether, it’s been almost 20 years since the then 33-year-old Alfa Spider represented (or was meant to, at least) the kind of purposeful, two-seater Alfa being announced here.
The final agreement should be finalized later this year, and you can scroll down to read the press release.
Mazda and Fiat to co-develop a roadster based on next-gen MX-5 Miata originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 May 2012 09:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.