Fiat May Deepen Proposed Partnership with Mazda and Produce Cars at Chrysler Plants
Italian automaker Fiat is planning to expand its newly announced partnership with Mazda Motor Corp. Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne says his company would consider building Mazda vehicles at its factories around the world. According to reports, following plans to co-develop a roadster with Mazda, Fiat-Chrysler might be open to further cost-sharing moves. On Wednesday, Mazda and Fiat announced that the two would cooperate on the development of a future roadster model. Likely sold by Mazda as the next MX-5 and by Alfa Romeo as the new Spider, the two sports cars would share a platform but with unique styling and power trains.
CEO Marchionne told reporters that he is open to further cooperation between Mazda and Fiat-Chrysler which could see the automaker offering to build Mazda products at Fiat-Chrysler factories around the world. It is unclear about the interest of Mazda in assembling cars in America. The company is shifting production of the 2013 Mazda 6 from AutoAlliance International facility in Flat Rock, Michigan to Japan. Mazda has had a string of financial losses and so any cost-saving methods will be beneficial to the Japanese automaker. “We will continue to look at other bilateral arrangements,” said Marchionne who added, “We’re totally open.”
Fiat has co-developed cars with other automakers which helps keep down engineering production costs for new models. Marchionne also said that it is very difficult to make profits on a unique design and power train designs. The Italian company’s various partnerships include Fiat 500 which was built in joint venture with Ford’s Ka in Poland, the Fiat Punto with GM’s Opel Corsa and the Fiat Sedici with Suzuki’s SX4 in Hungary. “The economics make it very difficult for most automakers to continue to produce all their own platforms and powertrains“, Marchionne told reporters, according to Reuters. “We’re willing to engage in discussions with anyone else,” he added. Mazda and Fiat confirmed that they were open to discussions of future opportunities for cooperation, but nothing is confirmed as yet.