How can an independent Mazda survive to zoom-zoom another day? Alliances. Like, say, loaning its robust roadster tech to the Italian brand that once defined the genre as "fun but flimsy"? Yes, Mazda's inked a deal that could see the next MX-5 become an Alfa Romeo spider, and we couldn't be happier.
Mazda announced the alliance with Fiat earlier today in a press release that continually stressed the provisional and non-binding nature of the cooperation. Mazda will "study" the development and manufacturing of a new roadster, to be based on the next-generation MX-5 and powered by "specific proprietary engines unique to each brand." The project "assumption" is that the new car will be built at Mazda's Hiroshima plant; the Alfa Romeo version is "envisaged" for 2015.
The point is, the roadster tie-up is the sexy part of a proposed European cooperation between Mazda and Fiat that the two expect to hammer out by the end of 2012. Fiat needs a small, rear-drive architecture and Mazda has it. Mazda needs a partner, and Fiat's star is rising.
Maybe they'll also partner on a new line of Fiat 128 GTs.