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Isuzu in driving seat to build Mazda pickup

POSTED BY Nigel Andretti ON 12 July 2016

THE divorce of Mazda and Ford is complete with the Japanese brand finding a new partner for its BT-50 ute.

Mazda and Isuzu said in a statement they had reached a basic agreement on next-generation pick-up truck collaboration, under which Isuzu will produce next-generation pick-up trucks for Mazda, based on Isuzu’s pick-up truck model, for sale worldwide, with the exception of North America.

The partners said that the deal will allow Isuzu to enhance its product competitiveness and Mazda to strengthen its product line-up and maintain own-brand market coverage.

Mazda and Isuzu have developed a collaborative relationship for more than 10 years, with Isuzu producing for Mazda trucks for the Japanese market. This agreement reinforces the continuous long-term relationship between Mazda and Isuzu.

The means the next generation Mazda BT-50 will be built on the same platform as Isuzu’s replacement for its current D-Max.

Currently the BT-50 is based on the Ford Ranger, which was developed in Australia and is built in Thailand.

The deal is described as a manufacturer “supply agreement” rather than a development partnership so it is unclear how much influence Mazda will have over the design and engineering of the car.

This new deal gives Mazda a new global ute partner following its separation from Ford.

The American company sold its 35 per cent stake in Mazda in 2010, which led the Japanese brand to develop its current Skyactiv range of engines and underpinnings.

This isn’t Mazda’s only automotive relationship, with agreements in place to share the Mazda MX-5 with Fiat and a partnership with Toyota that was announced in 2015, but has yet to have any official products confirmed.

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