Mazda has announced the next generation of its BT-50 ute, or pick-up, if you prefer, will be developed in collaboration with Isuzu.
It has been well documented that the current BT-50 is based on the very successful Ford Ranger. This has been a very fruitful arrangement for Mazda.
The statement from Mazda was light on detail but did provide the foundation of the agreement. "Mazda Motor Corporation and Isuzu Motors Limited have reached a basic agreement on next-generation pick-up truck collaboration, allowing Isuzu to enhance its product competitiveness and Mazda to strengthen its product line-up and maintain own-brand market coverage".
Isuzu will be responsible for production under a supply agreement. Essentially, the next generation D-MAX and BT-50 will be under the skin twins. This is currently the case with the D-MAX and Holden Colorado. There is not yet any word on whether or not the deal with GM will continue.
Isuzu and Mazda already enjoy a partnership in Japan, where Isuzu produces other commercial vehicles for Mazda.
The Isuzu D-MAX is getting long in the tooth and a new generation would be welcome. The current model is a genuine no-nonsense ute, but lacking in areas that lifestyle buyers are chasing such as infotainment and connectivity.
It is unknown how much input Mazda will have on the design and development of the new ute. They are in a position to make a significant contribution that Isuzu could take advantage of. Most things Mazda have touched since 2005 has turned to gold. This partnership could give Izusu some much-needed street cred, similar to the way the Ranger’s success has rubbed off on the current BT-50.
The D-MAX is towards the bottom of the ute sales ladder and struggles to compete with the likes of Ford and Toyota. This could be changed with an updated range and a larger dealer network to support it.
Let’s start a Car Conversation, does anybody own a D-MAX or BT-50? Did anyone purchase a BT-50 based on its relationship with the Ford Ranger?