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New-gen Mazda BT-50 to improve Isuzu breed

Sharing is caring: Mazda says its new-generation BT-50 workhorse will be a step forward in every aspect despite its rugged Isuzu D-Max underpinnings.

More than a supply deal, Mazda says its knowhow will make next-gen trucks better

Mazda logo4 Sep 2017

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

MAZDA Motor Corporation R&D chief Kiyoshi Fujiwara has revealed that the Japanese car-maker will have a degree of engineering input into its forthcoming BT-50 replacement, which in a deal forged last year will be based on the Isuzu D-Max rather than the Australian-developed Ford Ranger.

Speaking to GoAuto at a future technology forum in Germany last week, Mr Fujiwara promised that the next-generation utility would represent a significant step forward in all areas due to the detailed level of early development involvement and interaction MMC has had in the model.

He specifically outlined Mazda’s experience in tuning the chassis to provide a more enjoyable drive, despite the fundamental platform parameters being already in place.

This is in direct contrast to comments made earlier this year by Isuzu Motors president and senior executive officer Yoichi Masuda, who said that the joint-venture agreement between the two companies did not constitute a co-development agreement for a new pick-up product, but simply a supply deal.

“Judging from our contract with Isuzu, we don’t have any chance of improving the performance of the platform or any other item,” Mr Fujiwara admitted.

“But if we can carefully discuss with the Isuzu engineers, we can offer the kind of good characteristics or good performance, like a good shifting feel and they want to know how to make that kind of feeling (from us) so we can offer our technology or knowledge to Isuzu, and gradually teach them how to utilise that so they can make a better truck.”

The net result, according to Mr Fujiwara, will be a pick-up truck that offers the sort of driving dynamics and comfort associated with the Mazda brand.

“Therefore, even though you might have a concern right now, when we launch our next-generation pick-up truck you should expect much more (from it),” he said.

Mr Fujiwara also acknowledged the experience Mazda gained from working with Ford’s engineers in Australia will also help shape the BT-50 version of the next-generation D-Max.

“The excellent engineers who worked and developed the pick-up truck for Ford and also for ourselves with the current (BT-50) want to improve the capability of the Isuzu truck and we have to do that as a Mazda truck,” he said.

While the existing BT-50 is built alongside the T6 Ranger in Thailand for the Australian market, it has several key tuning differences as well as different body styling and cabin design, and sticks to a hydraulic rather than electric rack and pinion steering system used by the Ford version.

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GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.