Fiat SpA, expanded the potential of his new Mazda Motor Corp. partnership saying he is willing to build Mazda vehicles in Fiat and Chrysler plants.

Sergio Marchionne, the chief executive of both Fiat and Chrysler, added that Fiat was open to additional partnerships to help lower the automaker’s 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.”

Fiat and Mazda said yesterday that they will jointly develop a sports car and discuss further cooperation in Europe. The project will yield a successor to Fiat’s Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider based on technology from Hiroshima, Japan-based Mazda’s MX-5 Miata, a person familiar with the matter said yesterday.

“I think this project itself is only the beginning. It opens a channel of communication between two companies that have never worked together” said UBS auto analyst Tatsuo Yoshida.

“They said today that they’re going to explore cooperation in Europe, but there’s always scope for more, including the United States, for example.”

Both Fiat and Mazda have been looking for partners, albeit for different reasons.
Fiat, which acquired a bankrupt Chrysler as part of a 2009 bailout brokered by the Obama administration, says it needs to build and sell 6 million vehicles worldwide each year to be a real player in the global automobile market and achieve economies of scale.

On the same time, “Mazda needs partners desperately,” said Jim Hall of 2953 Analytics LLP, the Birmingham consulting firm.

“This is a very limited agreement, but this could lead to something else.”


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