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.
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.