Mazuzu design secured

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Mazda and Isuzu have set guidelines for the next generation of Mazda’s BT-50 pick-up.

After many years of association with Ford at the Auto Alliance manufacturing plant on our Eastern Seaboard, where the current BT-50 is built alongside its sibling, the Ford Ranger, the partnership between Mazda and Ford would end.

Current Mazda BT-50.
Current Mazda BT-50.

Mazda senior managing executive officer research and development Kiyoshi Fujiwara has confirmed that he had signed off on the next-generation BT-50’s basics with Isuzu in early November.

Kiyoshi Fujiwara said, “The issue is that the sales volume of pick-ups in our markets is not huge, so we cannot develop by ourselves,” he told journalists at the Los Angeles motor show. “Therefore we also search for a partner. Fortunately, I reached Isuzu as a partner.”

Initially it was thought that Isuzu would only be developing the engines for the BT-50, but Fujiwara revealed that was not correct. “Earlier this month I visited Isuzu in Hokkaido, I discussed with Isuzu guys how to develop the pick-up truck for the future, and we have already input our requirements. Now properly, Isuzu can develop our next pick-up.”

Fujiwara pointed to the fact that the two companies have long shared technology via Japanese-market commercial vehicles. “We have a long, long relationship with Isuzu through Japanese commercial trucks, so I think the good commercial relationship is already done. It is a good result,” he said.

There were no specific details given of the next-generation truck, which includes the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger, as well as the Mitsubishi Triton and the Holden Colorado and Isuzu D-Max.

“We want styling, of course, and good vehicle dynamics,” he said. “BT-50 is also our product and under our brand image. I cannot say which direction we are going, but this product is under our Kodo design and brand image.”

Isuzu’s next-generation D-Max will serve as the donor for the BT-50 range that is expected to offer 4×4 and 4×2 variants in cab-chassis, extra cab and dual-cab styles.

Mazda Motor Corporation managing executive officer and head of design Ikuo Maeda, meanwhile, said that designing the new pick-up will present its own challenges as the brand moves into a new era of more considered design.