NEWS: BMW Officially Partners with Fiat, Alfa Romeo

By Evan McCausland - July 8, 2008
0807 01z+2009 Alfa Romeo MiTo+rear Three Quarters View
If the next-generation Alfa Romeo Mi.To happens to feel a bit teutonic, we'll blame BMW. The German automaker today signed an agreement with Fiat Group to partner with future vehicle development.
The memorandum of understanding opens the door to using common archetictures and components. As previously reported, BMW's looking to share most of the architecture for the third-generation Mini with Fiat. The same platform may also support a future variant of the Grande Punto hatchback, in addition to future iterations of the Mi.To.
Although component sharing is key to lowering costs, perhaps the biggest boon for Fiat is BMW's marketing network. While BMW's release refrains from such details, Fiat's release notes that BMW may support Alfa Romeo's North American launch.
That's a huge help for Alfa. Although the low-volume 8C Competizione sports car is headed our way next year via Maserati dealers, few concrete plans exist for marketing the rest of Alfa's lineup in the States. Maserati dealers wouldn't likely enjoy the notion of handling high-volume models, and the cost of building up a sales and service infrastructure from scratch could severely tax Fiat's finances.
While Alfa Romeos won't make their way stateside until 2010, expect BMW and Fiat to set the exact details of their partnership by the end of 2008.

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