Nearly 40 years ago, when Ford Motor Company had part ownership of Japan based Mazda, FMC kind of dictated what would happen. Mazda contributed the Econovan and Courier (now Ranger) range of vehicles, Telstar and TX5 as well as the Trader 2 – 4 tonne truck range that Ford sold in Australia.
How times have changed. Mazda is now the pre-eminent brand in Australia, whilst Ford is dropping down the ladder like a Helium balloon with holes. Mazda has discontinued the relationship and has partnered with Isuzu to develop the next range of 1 tonne pick-ups and dual cabs. Our international colleagues from Indian Car Blog reveal early renderings of the new Mazda BT50 which will be manufactured in Thailand, but at the Isuzu factory where D-Max is made.
The current, second generation Mazda BT-50 is based on the Ford Ranger. Introduced at the 2010 Australian International Motor Show, the pickup truck was given a mid-life facelift last year. Now, with talks about the third generation Mazda BT-50 having started, a report from Paultan says that it will be based on the Isuzu D-Max. A speculative rendering from Theophilus Chin previews the next-gen Mazda BT-50 featuring the company’s latest family design.
Both co-developed pickup trucks will have unique designs.
According to the report, the development was brought to light during a performance presentation for the ASEAN region in Japan by Hiroshi Inoue, the company’s Executive Officer in charge of New Emerging Market Operation (excepting Latin America). Speaking on the collaborative work that will be done with the new commercial vehicle partner Isuzu, Mr. Inoue confirmed that the alliance will co-develop a new pick-up truck to replace the BT-50.
Mr. Inoue indicated that Mazda and Isuzu iterations will be a lot more different than just their branding, saying that a strategy similar to what’s being used for the Mazda BT-50 and Ford Ranger – having completely different exterior body panels and dashboard – will be used for the new co-developed pickup trucks.
The next-gen Mazda BT-50 will be made alongside the Isuzu D-Max at one of Isuzu’s plants in Thailand.
Furthermore, Mr. Inoue also spoke about the production of the co-developed pickup trucks. The Thai production of the Mazda BT-50 will continue, but will be relocated from the AutoAlliance Thailand plant in Rayong to one of the Isuzu’s plants where the Isuzu version will also be made.
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