A while back, the Fiat Group entered into a joint partnership with Japanese automaker Mazda. The deal was the new MX-5 would be the basis of Alfa Romeo’s new roadster. While both companies would use the same chassis platform, each would use their own engines for their cars.
But, in recent news reports, it would seem that deal has now got cancelled. Of course, it’s not all bad news. While Mazda are still rolling ahead with their plans to build the new MX-5, Fiat will instead be taking Alfa Romeo’s place. That’s good news for Fiat fans, as it hints at a new Fiat Barchetta roadster!
The Alfa Romeo roadster, which most people assume will get called the “Spyder,” will no longer be using the Mazda platform. In a surprising turn of events, Alfa Romeo will instead be sticking with their Project Giorgio platform. That is the codename for the new architecture which all new Alfa Romeo models will use.
From rumour to official word
It seems that Fiat preferred to build a new roadster using the Mazda platform instead of letting Alfa Romeo use it. Alfa Romeo is, as you know, a subsidiary company of the Fiat Group. So there isn’t much that Alfa Romeo can say or do about Fiat’s change of heart!
A few days ago, the news got made official. Harald Wester is the brand boss for Alfa Romeo in Europe. He told CAR Magazine that the rumours were true; Alfa Romeo is no longer using the Mazda platform as the basis for its new roadster.
He said “As far as the Spyder goes; the final version is, of course, no longer the two-seater [Alfa Romeo] car developed with Mazda.”
The Fiat – Mazda partnership
It seemed like an unlikely alliance to many in the motor industry. The main reason Fiat and Mazda joined forces for the production of a new roadster is one of cost. Both companies are looking for ways to increase their fortunes to significant levels.
It’s no secret that the fortunes of both firms have taken a tumble over recent years for various reasons. They hope the showrooms of dealers like Lifestyle Mazda will get filled with people placing orders for new Mazdas.
Image obtained from Flickr
Alfa Romeo is perhaps the hardest-hit brand of the alliance. Dealers that sell new Alfa Romeo cars are few and far between. That’s going to be something to do with the fact there are few models to sell!
Part of Fiat’s multi-billion pound investment in Alfa Romeo involves creating several new models. Fiat want at least eight new models in the Alfa Romeo fold by 2018. They also have an ambitious plan to ensure 80% of customers lived within a 30 mile radius of Alfa Romeo dealerships.
There is no word on whether the Alfa Romeo brand plans to make a return to the US market. But Fiat wants to start with building up a new customer base in their European markets first. At least, before considering re-entering the US market.
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