Enter the Mazda Romeo
Keeping to our continuing theme of small RWD sports cars, it’s with excitement that I read about a partnership between Mazda and Alfa Romeo to co-develop the next-generation MX-5 Miata.
We first heard about a potential tie-up between the Italians the Japanese back in May, and now it’s official and a deal has been signed that’ll also bring a new roadster to Alfa Romeo.
Is it safe to assume the new Alfa will be sold in the United States?
The deal is obviously comparable to the Toyota/Subaru partnership that created the FR-S/BRZ twins. Those vehicles are nearly identical, save for the interiors and the sheet metal. The Mazda/Alfa cars would probably not be so alike. They’d share a chassis and the RWD format, but it sounds like the two cars will be distinct from each other, from the styling all the way to the engine choices.
That will allow the Alfa, which would likely be sold in the States, to take an upmarket position and command a higher price than the Mazda.
It isn’t clear what role each automaker will play in the cars’ developmental process, though both will be built at Mazda’s Hiroshima plant and begin rolling off the assembly lines in 2015.
A press release from the two companies said,
Through this contractual agreement, Mazda aims to enhance development and production efficiency and revitalize enthusiasm for open-top two-seater sports cars around the world. For Fiat, this collaboration will permit the company to deliver a modern interpretation of the classic Alfa Romeo roadster utilizing the latest technical solutions, helping Alfa Romeo to achieve its stated goals by 2016.
So while we wait for more word on what these cars might look like and what might motivate them, we can spend some time guessing what clever nickname will be bestowed upon the tie-up. Mazda Romeo is an obvious choice. Perhaps Alazda? Malfa Romezo? The possibilities are endless.
Does a Mazda/Alfa Romeo partnership make sense?