Mazda and Alfa Romeo partnering on Miata-based sports car

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Mazda MX-5 Miata

Mazda is partnering with Alfa Romeo in creating the next MX-5 Miata and an Alfa based on it. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Mazda and Alfa Romeo, one of Fiat’s luxury brands, have teamed up to produce a sports car in the near future. The car is going to include the next generation MX-5 Miata, and an as-yet unnamed Alfa Romeo model.

The itsy-bitsy Spider

One of the most popular sports cars of the past 20 years is the Mazda MX-5 Miata, alternately called the MX-5 or just the Mazda Miata. According to Businessweek, Guinness World Records had certified the car as the beset-selling roadster of all time, reaching 750,000 units by 2006 and 900,000 by 2011, according to Motor Trend.

Mazda is working on the next generation of the car. Mazda has also announced, according to USA Today, a joint venture with Alfa Romeo to make the next-generation Miata and a forthcoming Alfa Romeo model. The new Alfa will start production in 2015 in Japan. The next Miata is supposed to start arriving at dealerships by 2014, according to Car and Driver.

Mazda-built Alfa has not yet named the car, but some wonder if the car is going to be named the Spider, which would give the car the popularity of the “Spider” name among Alfa enthusiasts.

Could use the help

Mazda’s financial troubles are well known. The company has been in dire fiscal straights for several years after Ford started divesting its stake in the company, including a $1.3 billion loss posted for the fiscal year ending in March, according to USA Today. Mazda has also been buying out employee contracts at its plants in the U.S.

It is not known exactly how much the next Miata and the forthcoming Alfa will share. According to Car and Driver, both will retain engines from their respective makers, meaning only the 2014 Miata will go SkyActiv. The Alfa will get a power train from within the Fiat family of car brands.

[Car finance loans are easier to get than one might believe]

It’s not exactly a secret that Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne and the rest of Fiat are trying to get Alfa Romeo back into the United State. A partnership with Mazda could conceivably help make that easier, not to mention re-introducing the brand using a fun car, rather than with Alfa’s current range of typical passenger cars.

Wither the 4C

It also is not known if this means the Alfa Romeo 4C roadster is being shelved, Car and Driver postulates that it likely is. However, the Washington Post asserts that the 4C is still scheduled to be built in Modena by Maserati, another part of the Fiat empire. The 4C, which has an engine in the middle rather than the front, is likely to be much higher-end than any Mazda/Alfa created roadster, if it is produced.

Sources

USA Today

Car and Driver

Washington Post

Businessweek: http://www.businessweek.com/autos/content/aug2006/bw20060803_341645.htm

MotorTrend: http://wot.motortrend.com/mazda-produces-900000th-mx-5-recognized-worlds-best-selling-sports-car-28207.html

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