Throwing a lifeline: Why Isuzu's partnership with Mazda is the new BT-50 bakkie's saving grace


• New BT-50 to be built on new D-Max's architecture.

The BT-50 is the last connection between Mazda and Ford.

• Mazda and Isuzu enters new partnership.

Almost a decade ago, Ford and Mazda announced their divorce. It seemed like an amicable split, with the parties gradually phasing out their alliance in a variety of products. The last vehicles to still benefit from this arrangement is the current Ford Ranger and Mazda BT-50.

With both bakkies coming in for all-new models, the last remaining connection between these two automakers will come to an end.

Ford, it was announced, will go into partnership with Volkswagen, with the next Ranger and Amarok being built alongside each other.

And Mazda? It will join forces with Isuzu to collaborate on their next generations of bakkies.

Will Mazda's new BT-50 be a sales success when it arrives in SA? Email us.

Mazda BT-50

All-new Mazda BT-50. (Mazda)

A new lease on life

When the split between Ford and Mazda was announced, it ended all communal part-sharing between the two.

To date, the current generation BT-50 received little to no updates, whereas the Ranger saw an influx of updates and upgrades - the most notable being the new, turbocharged 2.0-litre engines. This while Mazda continued with a somewhat outdated version of the 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo diesel engine.

To ease the load on producing its next-generation, Mazda entered into a new agreement with fellow-Japanese automaker, Isuzu.

READ: Mazda's new SA-bound BT-50 bakkie looks so much better

The new BT-50 and Isuzu's upcoming D-Max will share the same architecture and suspension setup, as well as engines and drivetrains. Mazda will forego the 3.2-litre engine, and, in so doing, finally cut its final tie with Ford. The agreement with Isuzu gives the Mazda BT-50 a new lease on life and will help Mazda keep its foot in the lucrative bakkie market.

Mazda BT-50

All-new Mazda BT-50. (Mazda Media)

Will the bakkie sell?

When the BT-50 arrives either in 2021 or in 2022, Mazda will hope that it will make an impact on South Africa's bakkie market. However, it is unlikely that it will rival the Toyota Hilux, Ranger, and D-Max on sales. This trio of bakkies are South Africa's best-selling bakkies and are almost unrivalled at the top.

READ: Local is lekker! Isuzu gets the green light to build next-gen D-Max bakkie in SA

To garner some sales success, Mazda must take a page out of Mitsubishi's book and limit the number of models its BT-50 range will consist of. Only double cab bakkie models, with either one or both engines the new D-Max will be equipped with. (A 1.9-litre and 3.0-litre diesel engine will power the new D-Max.)

On a concise range, Mazda SA has to market its bakkie aggressively and ensure that it gets the formula right. Then they have to hope that the bakkie will sell.

Mazda BT-50
All-new Mazda BT-50. (Mazda Media)
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