Top brass not as keen, but synergies between Mazda and Alfa Romeo could work for both
Mazda engineers are on their soapboxes, extolling their desire to bring back rear-wheel drive to the marque, Edmunds reports.
Senior and middle-ranking engineers within the company believe providing rear-drive alternatives to the mostly front-drive lineups of Japanese brands will differentiate them in the marketplace and add credibility to Mazda’s “fun to drive” ethos.
The report states the proposed strategy would focus on bringing back cars like the RX series, but also hints at mainstream rear-wheel drive models.
Top executives within the company are reluctant as developing rear-wheel drive platforms would be costly and probably quite cost prohibitive considering Mazda’s size and independence. Also, rear-wheel drive, due to its inefficiencies versus front-wheel drive, goes against Mazda’s SkyActiv philosophy.
However, if the Japanese company were to provide some rear-wheel drive models, a tie-up with Alfa Romeo could alleviate some of the financial burden.
Alfa Romeo and Mazda are currently co-developing a new rear-wheel drive roadster to be sold by Alfa Romeo as the new Spider and Mazda as the MX-5. Alfa is also keen to return to rear-wheel drive to provide a premium lineup, especially as they look to return to North America.
But, Mazda is currently riding a wave of success with their newest models, all front-drive models. The Mazda 6 and CX-5 have seen high sales since being released and the new 2014 Mazda 3 is expected to bring the same success to the Japanese company.