Mazda and Fiat have announced they have signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding to produce a new roadster for the Mazda and Alfa Romeo brands based on Mazda's next-generation MX-5.

The joint announcement states the Alfa Romeo version of the roadster will be distinctly differentiated from the Mazda version with iconic and brand specific design featuring rear-wheel-drive. Both Mazda and Alfa Romeo versions will also be differentiated by using their own proprietary engines. Production for both brand versions will be manufactured at Mazda's Hiroshima, Japan, plant with production for the Alfa Romeo projected to begin in 2015.

"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.

Previous reports suggest the new roadster model is a revival of the classic Alfa Romeo Spider. Speculation places the Pininfarina designed Alfa Romeo 2uettottanta Concept revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in 2010 as the first Spider design study.

The Final Agreement is expected to be signed in the second-half of 2012.

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