The hopeful beginning of many good things to come from both automakers.
Ever since Ford sold off their 20 percent stake in Mazda back in 2008, the Japanese automaker has been having money problems. Being attached to a major automaker allowed tiny Mazda to share the costs of developing new cars, which is insanely expensive. This arrangement worked great for Mazda, but when Ford refinanced before the recession, they had to ditch their Japanese partner.
Since then, Mazda has been doing a good job on their own developing their SkyActiv gasoline and diesel engines and transmissions. Still, the money hasn't exactly been pouring in. Fortunately, this has a potential happy ending. Mazda has just announced today that they have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding with Fiat for the development and manufacturing of a new roadster for both themselves and Alfa Romeo based on their next-generation MX-5 rear-wheel-drive architecture. More than likely, both cars will be built at Mazda's Hiroshima plant with the goal of having the Alfa-badged car begin production in 2015.
This agreement is great for both companies because it shows that Fiat is serious about expanding Alfa Romeo on a global scale and Mazda will benefit from having direct access to a large automaker again. As for the new Alfa model itself, it will share the next MX-5's basic underpinnings, but will have different exterior and interior styling as well as its own engine. Don't mistake this for the upcoming Alfa Romeo 4C, which is set to arrive in 2014; this new unnamed model will likely be smaller and more affordable. Alfa Romeo photos are of the 2uettottanta Concept by Pininfarina