The firms have signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding to develop a new roadster based on Mazda’s next-generation MX-5 rear-wheel-drive architecture.
However, while their architecture will be shared, the two roadsters will be styled differently.
The news will be welcomed by Alfa Romeo fans as it means the firm’s next roadster will return to rear-wheel drive, just like the Alfa Romeo Spyders of the 1960s.
Each car will also be powered by ‘specific proprietary engines’ unique to each brand, but it is assumed both will be built 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,’ said Takashi Yamanouchi, Mazda’s representative director and chairman of the board, president and CEO.
‘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.
Fiat CEO, Sergio Marchionne, 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 recognised 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 is expected to be signed in the second-half of 2012, and both brands have also agreed to discuss further opportunities for co-operation in Europe.