Fiat, the parent company of Chrysler, announced an alliance with Mazda to develop a rear-wheel-drive roadster, according to the Detroit News. The car is expected to be based on Mazda's MX-5 Miata and will be sold under the Mazda and Alfa Romeo brands.
The non-binding memorandum of understanding between the two carmakers, which was announced today, comes after Mazda's partnership with Ford fell apart. Mazda has been in the red the past four years, and earlier this year, the company said it was looking for an alliance partner to share development costs. Meanwhile, Fiat, along with other European carmakers, has been scrambling to cut costs and find partnerships as Europe's economy struggles.
"By partnering with Mazda, we will be cooperating with the recognized leader in compact rear-drive vehicle architectures in order to deliver an exciting and stylish roadster in the Alfa Romeo tradition," Chrysler and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said in a statement. "We are appreciative of this collaboration with Mazda and look forward to maintaining a fruitful and continuous relationship."
At the SEMA show in November, Mazda showed off a Spyder concept of the MX-5 Miata (pictured above) and said some elements may be used in future production cars.
Final agreement is expected to be signed later this year, and production of the car is expected to start in Japan in 2015.
Fiat Announces Alliance With Mazda (Detroit News)