It’s been about four months since Fiat and Mazda announced that they would share the next generation’s MX-5/Miata platform. Each company would develop its own version of the rear-wheel drive roadster, using its own powertrains and distinctive design.
After the announcement, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said that he is open to discussions for a much deeper collaboration with the Hiroshima-based manufacturer, as his company “will continue to look at bilateral arrangements”.
Only a few days later, Fiat Chairman John Elkann said the Italian carmaker has no plans to buy a stake in Mazda during a shareholders meeting.
At the Paris Auto Show, though, Marchionne left several options open: “Everything is possible. We’ve just started. We’ve signed the deal, we’ve visited the plants. Let’s take it one day at a time. We’re open to any solutions that lessen capital outlays.”
Mazda CEO Takashi Yamanouchi said that he expects the program to go as planned. Furthermore, he told Wards Auto that he expects Ford, which still holds a 2.11 percent stake in the company, to sell it eventually.
Yamanouchi commented that nothing is off limits; including his company’s proprietary SkyActiv petrol and diesel engine technology, adding that he is willing to share SkyActiv “as long as it benefits the Mazda brand”.
A tie-up would probably be beneficial to both automakers. Yamanouchi said that the areas he would be interested in collaborating with Fiat are “technology and regions”.
He explained that a possible deal could include sales and distribution agreements of another form of cooperation that would help Mazda expand its presence in more markets. Mazda is interested in India, Africa and South America – especially Brazil, where Fiat is very strong.
By Andrew Tsaousis
Hat tip to Bruno R.!