Mike Stevens | May 23, 2012

Mazda and Fiat will work together on a new Alfa Romeo convertible based on the rear-wheel-drive platform of the new MX-5, the two companies have announced today.

For Alfa Romeo, the new model will mark the Italian brand's first rear-wheel-drive offering since the debut of the limited-edition 8C sports coupe in 2007.

Before the arrival of the 8C, Alfa's last rear-spinning offering was the fourth-generation Spider, which bowed out of production in 1993.

Speaking with TMR today, Mazda Australia's Steve Maciver confirmed that the new Alfa will be far from a rebadged Mazda, with both companies focusing on their own unique styling, powertrains and handling dynamics.

This means that while both cars will be built on Mazda's lightweight Skyactiv platform, the new Alfa will be driven by a Fiat engine, and the MX-5's heart will beat to the tune of its own homegrown technology.

“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," Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne said.

Both cars will be produced at Mazda's Hiroshima plant, and while the new MX-5 is expected sometime in late 2013, production of Fiat's hot little Alfa is scheduled to begin 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, Mazda chief Takashi Yamanouchi said.

"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.”

The agreement is expected to be finalised later this year, and both brands have agreed to discuss opportunies for further cooperation.

Above: Pininfarina's Alfa Romeo Spider concept.
Above: Pininfarina's Alfa Romeo Spider concept.

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