The long-rumoured Alfa Romeo and Mazda partnership now looks likely to result in a Fiat or Abarth Roadster rather than an Alfa Romeo convertible, according to the Italian company’s boss.
Speaking to the media at yesterday’s Geneva Motor Show, Sergio Marchionne said the project with Mazda is still on going, but hinted that it’s unlikely to be used as an Alfa Romeo model.
“[The deal for Mazda to produce a roadster for Alfa Romeo] is potentially still part of the Alfa plan as it is potentially part of another brand.” Marchionne said.
“I think that the architecture itself is sufficiently pliable to be available not just to Alfa but to others, and I think that we are in discussions with our partner now how to best utilise the commitment that we have made to Mazda”
The comments suggest the perhaps Fiat or even Abarth will take up the Mazda roadster, with the Japanese brand set to build the vehicle - which shares its underpinnings with the next-generation Mazda MX-5 - but using Fiat-Chrysler powertrains.
Marchionne didn’t comment on specifics regarding which brand will take up the roadster project, only that the project was still very much alive.
“We remain committed to the project, and that’s the important thing. We are committed to using that architecture with our powertrains.”
Nonetheless, Marchionne said at a later time that we are “not going to see a non-Italian-produced Alfa” while he was in charge, quickly correcting himself to make room for the Mazda partnership
“I’m going to carve out from that statement anything which relates to the alliance with Mazda because otherwise we’re going to cut ourselves into smithereens here.”
The Mazda MX-5 Roadster and its Fiat, Abarth or Alfa Romeo sibling are expected to be unveiled later this year.