Ford had earlier offloaded their 20% stake in Mazda and had been facing a financial crunch ever since. The deal sounds like a welcome break for Mazda too which lost a massive $ 1.3 billion during 2011-2012, though the company has been faring quite well in their SkyActiv gasoline and diesel engines and transmissions project. The association is expected to cut costs and pave way to a deeper alliance between the two companies. The final agreement is scheduled to be signed in the second half of 2012 and the production of the Alfa Romeo is envisaged to start in 2015 and to be styled distinctly by Fiat.Fiat features amongst the three weakest car makers in Europe and has already built the small 500 in association with Ford Motor Co, the Fiat Punto in association with Opel Corsa and the Fiat Seidici in association with Suzuki Motor Corporation, cutting costs of about $1.3 billion which is required to develop each new car. Alfa Romeo had earlier been withdrawn from the United States during 1995. The company now plans to launch the vehicle on a global scale.
Mazda will share then basic underpinnings of MX-5 after effecting changes to both the interiors and exterior appearance. The Mazda MX-5 features in the Guinness Book of World Records for creating history as the best selling two-seat convertible sports car with sales of more than 9,00,000 units during 2011. The new roadsters are expected to have a smaller build and priced more affordably compared to its predecessors.
Representative Director and Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of Mazda commented, “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.”
CEO of Fiat, Sergio Marchionne commented, “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.”
Fiat and Mazda have outlined plans to explore opportunities for cooperation in the European markets in the near future.