Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne says his company would consider building Mazda vehicles at its factories around the world. Reutersreports that, following plans to co-develop a roadster with Mazda, Fiat-Chrysler might be open to further cost-sharing moves.
Mazda and Fiat announced Wednesday that the two would cooperate on 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 use unique styling and powertrains. The plan calls for both models to be built by Mazda in Hiroshima, Japan.
CEO Marchionne told reporters in Illinois 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's unclear whether Mazda has any interest in assembling cars in America; the company is shifting production of the 2013 Mazda 6 from the AutoAlliance International facility in Flat Rock, Michigan, to Japan. Mazda is, however, retaining its stake in that plant, and could potentially leverage its capacity in the future. Given that Mazda has suffered a string of financial losses, however, any cost-saving methods are sure to be beneficial to the Japanese manufacturer.
Fiat has co-developed several cars with other manufacturers, which the company says helps it keep down engineering and production costs for new models. Marchionne told Reuters that it's "very difficult" for automakers to make a profit on unique platform and powertrain designs. The Fiat 500 was built in a joint venture with the Ford Ka, the Fiat Punto was twinned with the Opel Corsa, and the Fiat Sedici was also paired with the Suzuki SX4.
In a statement released Wednesday announcing the roadster partnership, Mazda and Fiat confirmed that the two companies were open to discussing future opportunities for cooperation, but at this point, nothing is set in stone.