The Future of the Mazda BT-50 with Isuzu Onboard
In 2008 Ford announced that they'd be selling much of their stake in Mazda, dropping their shares from a controlling interest of 33% down to 13%. Among mixed emotions was a chance for Mazda to carve its own path without Ford's influence. Takashi Yamanouchi (Mazda's first post-Ford CEO) is noted as exclaiming, "This is a godsend!" Much of the cause for the breakup is blamed on China's rapid economic rise and the U.S. financial crisis of 2008. Ford was the only U.S. automaker that did not accept a bailout from the Federal government. They made bold moves, such as selling their shares in Mazda and using their branding rights to the "blue oval" as collateral for a loan. This helped the company weather the storm and come out on top on the other side.
For anyone who has traveled throughout the Caribbean islands has no doubt seen a great little truck known as the Mazda BT-50. This has Ford's influence written all over it as it is the Ford Ranger re-skinned as a Mazda. However, sleek lines and a sharp, car-like interior, make this truck one-of-a-kind. Lovers of this truck should not worry though, at the end of its production, Mazda plans to team up with Isuzu to develop a next generation of pickups. Isuzu is a name, which has not been heard in the commercial auto market since 2009, although their commercial vehicles are still sold in the U.S.
This isn’t the first time Isuzu has worked with a U.S. automaker. The company has a long relationship with GM and has co-developed the diesel-powered engine in the current lines of GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado. So far any improvements, changes, or concepts are being kept under wraps for the new Mazda / Isuzu design, however if their past experience is any indication, we are in for one great-looking truck. If you have any thoughts or opinions to share about this project, feel free to add a comment on our Facebook page.