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Alfa Romeo, Mazda confirm roadster project

Fri, 18 Jan 2013

The Fiat Group and Mazda Motor Corp. have finalized an agreement to co-develop a pair of compact two-seat roadsters that will go on sale in the United States in 2015.

The cars will be the fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata and a modern interpretation of the classic Alfa Romeo Spider. The cars will share a common rear-wheel-drive platform, key chassis components and electric architecture.

Limited details of the joint project were revealed last year.

The Mazda and Alfa Romeo versions will use unique engines. The MX-5 Miata will use Mazda's latest four-cylinder SkyActiv gasoline engine of as yet unspecified capacity. The Alfa Romeo Spider is set to offer a uniquely tuned version of the four-cylinder unit used in the Giulietta hatchback.

The next generation of the Mazda MX-5 Miata is due in 2015.

Both the Mazda and Alfa Romeo versions will be built at Mazda's Hiroshima plant in Japan.

Mazda says the agreement, which auto industry analysts suggest may be used as the spring board for a broader platform sharing deal encompassing higher volume models, provides added economies of scale and production efficiency for the next-generation MX-5 Miata.

For the Fiat Group, the deal allows it to resurrect one of Alfa Romeo's most memorable models at a fraction of the cost needed to develop the new roadster on its own.

By Greg Kable