Mazda, Fiat study more joint vehicles
Yamanouchi: “Opportunity list” in the works
LOS ANGELES -- As Mazda and Fiat work to finalize their deal to make roadsters together, the companies are looking at other possible joint projects, Mazda's CEO said.
Takashi Yamanouchi, CEO of Mazda Motor Corp., said that engineers from the automakers are drawing up an "opportunity list" of potential vehicle projects.
Yamanouchi, speaking through an interpreter at the Los Angeles auto show, declined to identify segments under consideration.
In September at the Paris auto show, Yamanouchi said Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne told him that he wanted to expand their partnership. The companies are jointly developing roadsters to be the next-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata and Alfa Romeo Spider.
"The engineers at both companies are meeting with each other, and we can have a mutual better understanding of each company, which can then open up new possibilities," Yamanouchi said.
Yamanouchi said he and Marchionne agreed to finalize the roadster deal by year end, adding "that there are no major issues at this point."
A broad alliance or equity sharing deal is unlikely. Mazda has made clear its desire to remain independent.
Until the agreement is completed, the roadster deal is governed by a memorandum of understanding. Part of the deal lays out Fiat's desire to work with Mazda in Europe, where Fiat operates plants at low levels, Yamanouchi said.
"I conjecture that they're perhaps looking for some kind of cooperation to assist them with that," he said.
Yamanouchi said producing Mazda vehicles at Fiat plants in Europe is under study, but voiced concerns about the viability of such a project.
"It's a matter of production volume. But it also involves double tooling, so I don't know if it's something that would be viable or not."
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