Mazda BT-50 ute to become Isuzu D-Max twin

Mazda BT-50

THE next-generation Mazda BT-50 will be based on the Isuzu D-Max, ending the Japanese brand’s long association with Ford.

Mazda and Isuzu announced this week “a basic agreement on next-generation pick-up truck collaboration”. The short press release featured barely any details but stated the collaboration would allow Isuzu to enhance its product competitiveness and Mazda to strengthen its product line-up and “maintain own-brand market coverage”.

Ford RangerThe Mazda BT-50 has been twinned with the Ford Ranger for a decade. Its switch to Isuzu means the next model, not due for several years yet, is also set to be paired with the Holden Colorado that currently shares underpinnings with the D-Max.

This would become the latest three-way ute partnership, following the Nissan Navara that is a donor vehicle for the upcoming Renault Alaskan and Mercedes-Benz GLT.

658_Holden -ColoradoThe Mazda-Isuzu joint venture is a major extension of an existing collaboration that has seen a rebadged version of Isuzu’s Elf truck sold in Japan since 2004 as a Mazda Titan.

Isuzu and Mazda both currently build their utes separately in Thailand, where the next-generation models would be expected to continue production.

658_Isuzu -D-MaxMazda’s current BT-50 launched in 2011 and was last updated in 2015, though utes are renowned for having lifecycles stretching beyond the seven-year average of cars.

It is the last of the Mazda-Ford alliance that has seen multiple twins such as the Tribute/Escape SUVs and Mazda 3/Focus.

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