Mazda Partners With Isuzu for Pickups, Ditches Ford, Continues to Avoid North America
Mazda is closing the door on its relationship with Ford and opting to partner with Isuzu for its next-generation pickup trucks.
The automaker announced a new agreement today that will see Isuzu build its next pickup model, bound for everywhere but North America. The two companies previously collaborated on a pickup solely for the Japanese market.
For the past decade, Mazda’s midsize “world” pickup has been a badge-engineered version of the Ford Ranger — the BT-50. Isuzu’s midsize D-Max pickup (now well into its second generation) is comparable in size and power.
The new agreement allows “Isuzu to enhance its product competitiveness and Mazda to strengthen its product line-up and maintain own-brand market coverage,” Mazda stated in a release.
Isuzu’s D-Max first appeared in 2002 and shares a platform with General Motors’ midsize pickups. The second generation bowed in 2012, powered by three four-cylinder diesel engines of 1.9, 2.5 and 3.0 liters.
Mazda didn’t go into details of when its new pickup will appear, or how similar it would be to Isuzu’s offerings. It’s likely that Mazda wants to wait until the next generation of the D-Max appears, though no firm release date has been given for that model.
Mazda and Ford were once the closest of product partners, with the American automaker once owning a third of the Japanese company. (Ford’s stake in Mazda is now negligible after several share sell-offs.) The end of the Ranger/BT-50 pickup collaboration marks another severing of ties between the two companies, with Mazda increasingly seeking partnerships with other automakers.
[Image: Isuzu Australia]