Mazda and Fiat have just announced a new partnership to co-develop a new family of roadsters derived from the next generation MX-5.

Mazda and Fiat, specifically for the Alfa Romeo brand, have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding for the joint development effort. The Mazda and Alfa Romeo variants will each be powered by specific proprietary engines unique to each brand.

"Establishing technology and product development alliances is one of Mazda's corporate objectives and this announcement with Fiat is an important first step in that direction. It is especially exciting to be collaborating with such a prestigious marque as Alfa Romeo on a new roadster based on the next-generation MX-5, which is such an iconic vehicle for Mazda and recognized as the best-selling roadster of all time." said Takashi Yamanouchi, Mazda's Representative Director and Chairman of the Board, President and CEO.

This is not the first time that two manufacturers have agreed to co-develop new architecture for sportscars. The most recent example is from Toyota and Subaru (initially jokingly called ToyoBaru), which has born fruit to the 86 and the BRZ sports coupes, respectively. Both cars are set for launch in the Philippines in the next few months.

"This agreement clearly demonstrates our commitment to Alfa Romeo and the determination to grow it into a truly global brand. By partnering with Mazda, we will be co-operating with the recognized leader in compact rear-drive vehicle architectures in order to deliver an exciting and stylish roadster in the Alfa Romeo tradition. We are appreciative of this collaboration with Mazda and look forward to maintaining a fruitful and continuous relationship." said Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne. 

The Mazda/Fiat Alfa Romeo model collaboration will be built at Mazda's plant in Hiroshima by 2015, with a final agreement expected to be done by the end of the year.