Mazda set to expand Fiat partnership

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IOL mot may25 mazda production REUTERS Mazda production could soon take place at Fiat and Chrysler plants.

Fiat is open to expanding its newly announced partnership with Mazda and building the Japanese carmaker's vehicles at Fiat and Chrysler factories worldwide.

Sergio Marchionne, chief executive of both Fiat and Chrysler, added that Fiat was open to additional partnerships to help lower its costs and expand its global reach.

“We will continue to look at other bilateral arrangements,” Marchionne told reporters on the sidelines of an event at a Chrysler plant in Belvidere, Illinois. “We're totally open.”

Separately, Marchionne said there was a “better than 50 percent chance” that Fiat would boost its stake in Chrysler by 3.3 percent in July.

Earlier this week, Fiat and Mazda announced a deal to jointly develop their most famous sports cars, the Alfa Romeo Spider and MX-5, respectively. The joint venture does not include any equity tie-ups, but will help both companies cut costs.

Fiat has already built the small Fiat 500 in a joint venture with Ford’s Ka; the Fiat Punto with General Motors’ Opel Corsa; and the Fiat Seidici with the Suzuki SX4, sharing the investment costs of around 1 billion euros (R10.5-billion) needed to develop each new car.

“The economics make it very difficult” for most carmakers to continue to produce all their own platforms and powertrains, Marchionne told reporters. “We're willing to engage in discussions with anyone else.” -Reuters

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