The project to restore Alfa Romeo and make it a global brand has taken on a personal dimension for Fiat’s Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne. He is absolutely committed to seeing the effort through. To do that, he will do whatever it takes.
It’s no big secret in the automotive industry – Marchionne has said he will sign partnership deals with anyone and everyone. He is constantly out looking for them, and the perfect opportunity with Mazda arose recently. One of the things on his wish list for Alfa Romeo has been a small roadster.
The perfect opportunity to see it to fruition came through a partnership with Mazda on the next-generation MX-5 platform. It came at the right time for Mazda, who is looking for partners as well. An Alfa Romeo model built at the same factory in Japan will add economies of scale and research and development dollars. It’s a win-win for everyone.
As it isn’t due until 2015, we haven’t heard much about the Alfa Romeo model except that it would look completely different from the MX-5 Miata. British magazine What Car? has revealed that the two cars will be different in price and positioning. Also, the Alfa variant would be powered by Fiat’s significantly more powerful MultAir turbocharged four-cylinder engine. That’s about what we expected – there definitely is room for a new lightweight and sporty roadster on the market. Also in the article is comments by Mazda head Takashi Yamanouchi about potential future tie-ups with Fiat. He said if the roadster project is a success, Fiat and Mazda could partner on things like engine swaps (Mazda’s Skyactiv for Fiat’s MultiAir, etc) as well as deeper ones like the roadster deal. Right now though we’re eager to see what the Italian automaker comes up with on the MX-5 platform.