Mazda and Alfa Romeo marriage official

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Fiat and Mazda have signed a 'Final Agreement' that will see the Japanese company build a two-seat convertible sports car for Alfa Romeo, based on the next-generation MX-5.

The new vehicles will be "powered by specific proprietary engines unique to each brand" according to a joint statement from both car makers. This means the Alfa Romeo sports car will most likely be powered by small capacity turbocharged engines from Fiat's MultiAir family, while Mazda will adopt its fuel-saving SkyActiv technology.

Both vehicles will share the Mazda MX-5's architecture, which is expected to deliver a lower kerb mass than the current MX-5 Roadster Coupe's 1167kg. The differences between the cars will extend to their styling too, with "Mazda and Fiat to develop two differentiated, distinctly styled, iconic and brand-specific roadsters". Both the new Mazda MX-5 and Alfa Romeo roadster will be rear-wheel drive but the Italian vehicle is scheduled to begin production at Mazda's Hiroshima plant in 2015, a year later than the new generation Mk4 2014 MX-5.

Alfa Romeo has not yet revealed the name of its new Mazda-built roadster, but it's possible the Spider or Duetto names could return, particularly the latter if it takes design cues from the Alfa Romeo 2uettottanta Concept (pictured). The concept car first seen at the 2010 Geneva motor show was designed to pay tribute to the Duetto.

Like the MX-5, the Italian sports car will be developed for global markets and the tying of the knot between Mazda and Alfa Romeo's parent company, Fiat, helps cut development costs and could to lead to further collaborations.

Major car companies are increasingly seeking alliances to reduce expenditure for all aspects of vehicle development and manufacture. As examples, BMW and Peugeot have been sharing engine technology for years, and the next smart fortwo will share its platform with the Renault Twingo, just as the Ford Ka and Fiat 500 already do.

The Alfisti will be delighted with the confirmation of a new compact rear-wheel drive sports car, and Fiat says "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".

Mazda says that now the deal is sealed, it "aims to enhance development and production efficiency and revitalize enthusiasm for open-top two-seater sports cars around the world".

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