Mazda and Isuzu Enter Agreement to Build Global Small Pickup
Replacement for BT-50 Destined for Everywhere but U.S.
Mazda Motor Corporation and Isuzu Motors Limited, the parent companies of each respective marque, have entered into an agreement to collaborate on a global-sized pickup for markets outside North America. The pickup will likely be a replacement for the Mazda BT-50 and Isuzu D-Max, each company’s respective midsize offering.
Currently, the BT-50 uses a version of the global Ford Ranger platform, so this partnership would likely signify an end to the Mazda/Ford tie-up. It would also expand the relationship between Mazda and Isuzu; the latter company produces its N-Series/Elf medium-duty trucks for the former, rebadged as the Mazda Titan. However, it’s not likely the commercial-grade Titan/N-Series would have much to do with the more consumer-oriented new pickup.
Reading the press release carefully, it looks as though the next Mazda pickup will be designed and built by Isuzu. It will be an easy way for Isuzu to defray the production costs of its own next-generation pickup, since that vehicle will donate the bones to the Mazda product. No timetable has been given, but we’d expect the agreement’s firstfruits to come by the end of the decade.
While we wonder what Mazda engineers could come up with if tasked to build a pickup, it’s probably best to let them keep doing what they do well: sporty passenger cars. Isuzu has plenty of experience rebadging vehicles the light-truck market (Chevrolet’s first compact pickup, the LUV, was actually a restyled Isuzu Faster truck), so Mazda execs probably have no need to fear. The Isuzu product will likely be a fine work vehicle. We just wish we could have a true compact pickup back in the U.S. market.