‘Mazuzu’ bakkie is coming your way
MAZDA and Isuzu have announced a basic agreement to base the next Mazda BT-50 bakkie on the Isuzu D-Max.
The companies did not announce when the co-operation will start, but as the Isuzu plants will have to be changed to build the Mazda bakkies, pundits in the auto trade predict it will take two years before the first “Mazuzu” comes off the assembly lines.
The same pundits predict the bakkie may not be built in Port Elizabeth, but rather in Thailand.
In a short statement, the companies said the collaboration will allow Isuzu to enhance its product competitiveness and Mazda to strengthen its product line-up and maintain own-brand market coverage.
The bakkies will be going on sale worldwide except in North America, where the Yanks prefer giant utes to our puny bakkies.
This is not the first such collaboration between the two giant Japanese groups. For a decade from 2002, Mazda sold a rebranded Isuzu truck as the Titan in the mid and Far East.
And with bakkies all looking alike these days, it will not be the last we see of such badge-engineered chassis sharing either. The Nissan Navara will form the underpinning of both a Merc as well as a Renault one-ton bakkie, while Fiat launched its Mitsubishi Triton-based Fullback in South Africa this month.
Meanwhile, Mazda reported that the BT-50 now accounts for around six percent of total sales year to date, with the Mazda CX-5 and the Mazda3, Mazda’s biggest sellers, with 55% of the sales volume combined, while the popular Mazda2 and newly introduced Mazda CX-3 take up just under 40% of the sales volume combined.
“The market conditions under which we started 2016 have altered and as we head into the second half of the year, we’ll continue to work with our dealer business partners with the aim to maintain momentum and capture our potential share of what the market delivers,” said Mazda SA’s head of sales Craig Roberts in a statement.
Mazda Southern Africa distributes through 50 dealers and will open another two dealerships by the end of this year.
Mazda and Isuzu will again collaborate like they did when Mazda sold this Isuzu truck as the Titan in 2002, but this time it will be a Mazda-Isuzu bakkie.