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updated: 1/18/2013 7:02 AM

Fiat and Mazda seal deal to build new roadster

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Associated Press

Fiat and Mazda have signed a final agreement to jointly produce convertible two-seater Alfa Romeo and Mazda sports cars.

The Italian and Japanese carmakers said Friday that the roadsters will go into production at Mazda's plant in Hiroshima, Japan, in 2015.

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The cars will be based on the same platform -- the next generation of the iconic Mazda MX-5 -- but will have different styling and engines. The carmakers signed a memorandum of understanding in May.

Fiat is planning to launch nine new Alfa Romeo's by 2016 as part of its strategy to focus on higher-margin luxury cars and launch Alfa into a global brand. Most will be produced in Italy to help return European operations to profitability and revive production at underutilized plants.

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