Building a sports car in this day and age is a risky business. Consumers tend to have little disposable income and prefer sensible hatchbacks and crossovers. Rather than give up on sporty cars entirely, some manufacturers are reducing the risk of failure by forging partnerships on new projects.
The latest to get into bed together are Mazda and Fiat. The two companies have announced an agreement in principle to work together on a new rear-wheel-drive sports car that uses the best technologies from their respective stables.
The cars, which will be based on Mazda’s iconic MX-5 model, will be available with either Mazda or Alfa Romeo branding. Although both will be built at Mazda’s Hiroshima plant, they will have altogether different styling and be powered by different engines.
The Mazda version will use Mazdas ‘Skyactive’ technology, which incorporates lighweight construction and highly efficient engines. The Alfa version will use an engine from the Fiat group.
Production of that car will begin in 2015, after which it will be sold worldwide. Scant details have been released, but according to Reuters, the car will be known as the Alfa Spider in the United States.
The move should be good news for everyone. Mazda might begin to reverse the tide of posting four straight years of losses, Alfa can once again dip its toes into the sports car market with less risk, and we, the people, get to hoon around in two new sports cars based on one of the finest roadsters ever made.
A final agreement between the companies is expected to be signed in the second half of 2012.
In the meantime, let us know what you think. Is this a good move for Alfa Romeo? Will this be enough to reinvigorate Mazda? Post your thoughts in the comments below or on Facebook.