Ford collaboration gave Mazda much stylistic freedom with the current BT-50, but how much will it have with the Isuzu-based next-generation?

Ford and Mazda have been building bakkies together for decades, with today's Ranger and BT-50 being closely related, but now that the two companies are officially divorced, and Mazda's bakkie market share does not seem big enough to justify the expense of going it alone in the market, there have been questions over how it plans to develop its next one-tonner.

With the help of Isuzu is the short answer.

Mazda and Isuzu on Monday released a joint statement revealing that the two companies had reached a "basic agreement" that would see them collaborating on a next-generation pick-up truck.

However, collaboration in this context does not mean that the two would be mix-matching their various technologies or architectures as it states clearly that Isuzu would produce next-generation pick-up trucks for Mazda, based on Isuzu's own vehicle.

Although the statement does not specifically mention that the vehicles would be one-tonners, that would be the obvious assumption given that the sales area is listed as "worldwide, except North America", the latter being the only region where full-sized pick-ups are widely demanded.

It's also not impossible that the new Mazda could be built in South Africa, given that Isuzu recently strengthened its ties with GMSA, with production volumes expected to increase in the next generation.

Pick-up collaborations are becoming increasingly common as the world market heats up and new players want to get in on the action.

Renault recently revealed its Alaskan one-tonner, which is heavily based on allaiance-partner Nissan's Navara and the latter will also spawn Mercedes-Benz's upcoming pick-up, although the German carmaker's entrant into the segment will reportedly be more distinctive in its exterior and interior styling, in line with its premium positioning.

Fiat recently entered the fray with its Mitsubishi Triton-based Fullback, which was recently launched in SA, and Peugeot will also be getting in on the action soon, with a future one-tonner that is likely be based on Toyota's Hilux.

Motoring.co.za

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