New Mazda BT-50 no longer a Ranger knock-off

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News is out from Japan that the next generation Mazda BT-50 will be coming down an Isuzu assembly line, joining the Isuzu D-Max and the Chevrolet Colorado.

Up till now, the Mazda pick-up has shared design details with Ford’s Ranger, and whilst Ranger has been a brilliant success for FoMoCo, the BT-50 has been left lingering.

Mazda BT-50.
Mazda BT-50.

Mazda announced that the basic agreement signed by the two auto-makers this week follows an earlier agreement between General Motors and Isuzu from late-2014 confirming that they would co-develop the next-generation D-Max and Chevrolet Colorado.

The Mazda deal means there will be three models – the D-Max, Colorado and BT-50 replacement – sharing basic architecture in a similar way to Nissan’s NP300 Navara which will form the basis for alliance partner Renault’s just revealed Alaskan and the forthcoming Mercedes-Benz pick-up, likely to be called GLT.

It is understood that the Mazda will have its own look to differentiate it from the Isuzu/Colorado models in the competitive one-tonne pick-up market, but information on possible shared powertrains is unclear.

Mazda and Isuzu have been collaborating for more than 10 years, with Isuzu building commercial trucks for Mazda specifically for the Japanese domestic market.

In a statement, the two companies confirmed that Isuzu would produce the next-gen pick-up for Mazda based on its own pick-up, adding that the agreement would allow “Isuzu to enhance its product competiveness and Mazda to strengthen its product line-up and maintain own-brand market coverage”.

Little else is known about the future Mazda pick-up at this stage, but given the announcement has just been made, it is unlikely the next-gen BT-50 would be in the showrooms before 2019.