Wednesday, May 23, 2012
It ain't easy being an Alfa Romeo enthusiast in America. Here is a car company with the greatest heritage, the greatest emblem and has produced some of the greatest performance cars ever and all you can do is just watch from the sidelines while the cars are sold everywhere else but the USA. Frustrating for sure, BUT there are plans for the storied marque to return this country. Alfa Romeo fans are right now saying "yeah, sure..." and "I'll believe it when I see it". Can't blame them, they've heard it all before. Well now comes news that should tweak that carefully guarded pessimism. Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A. (Fiat) and Mazda Motor Corporation (Mazda) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the joint development of a new Alfa Romeo roadster based on Mazda’s next-generation MX-5 rear-wheel-drive architecture.
Fiat and Mazda will develop two distinctly different vehicles, each with their own style and powered by engines specific to each brand. The sharing of the next generation platform will cut development costs, but also speed the reentry of an Alfa Romeo Spider into the US by 2015. The new Alfa Romeo Spider is expected to be manufactured at Mazda’s Hiroshima, Japan factory.
The Mazda MX5 has developed into a highly capable vehicle over its 21 year heritage and has become the best selling roadster of all time. There is talk of the next generation MX5 weighing as little as 2,000 lbs, so combining this lightweight chassis with say, the 235 HP turbocharged and direct-injected 1750 TBi inline-four that powers the top of the line Alfa Romeo Giulietta, gives you an idea of the performance potential this new Alfa Romeo Spider could have.
This agreement also hints that Fiat and Mazda may partner together in the upcoming future:
“This agreement clearly demonstrates our commitment to Alfa Romeo and the determination to grow it into a truly global brand. By partnering with Mazda, we will be co-operating with the recognized leader in compact rear-drive vehicle architectures in order to deliver an exciting and stylish roadster in the Alfa Romeo tradition. We are appreciative of this collaboration with Mazda and look forward to maintaining a fruitful and continuous relationship,” said Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne.
A new lightweight, high performance Alfa Romeo Spider would be something to celebrate, and may just break Alfa enthusiasts out of their perpetual pessimism. Let's hope everything stays on track...
Quote from Fiat Group Press
Posted by Chris at 1:30 PM