Mazda Motor Corporation and Isuzu Motors Ltd have reached a major agreement that will lead to the next generation of Mazda utes in this country.
The agreement marks a cutting of long-standing ties between Mazda and Ford, and General Motors and Isuzu.
The managing director of Mazda New Zealand, Andrew Clearwater, said the new deal would allow Isuzu to enhance its product competitiveness and Mazda to strengthen its product line-up and maintain own-brand market coverage.
The current Mazda BT-50 ute shares a common platform with the Ford Ranger, but future Mazda utes will sit on a platform developed by Isuzu.
“As with the current arrangement with Ford, both the BT-50 and Ranger are well differentiated for competition in the market although they share a common platform,” said Clearwater.
“This same level of product differentiation will continue with this new arrangement, with Mazda taking the lead design and development of Mazda unique content.”
The timing of the new models has yet to be revealed.
But Clearwater said the next generation Mazda Ute would be built in Thailand at Isuzu Motors manufacturing facility, This would reinforce the collaborative relationship the two companies have had in the Japanese market.
“For more than 10 years now, Isuzu have been producing Mazda trucks for the Japanese market for Mazda,” he said.
The new arrangement would cover markets throughout the world apart from North America.
The current Isuzu D-Max ute is based on a General Motors platform.
Isuzu has been producing 4WD utes and other 4x4 vehicles for more than 50 years and has 37 subsidiaries in 19 countries and more than 23,000 employees and sales representatives.
It says that as well as being the world's largest diesel engine manufacturer, Isuzu Motors Japan claims to be its top-selling light-to-heavy truck brand.
Isuzu's worldwide complete vehicle shipments total more than 300,000 units a year, while Isuzu diesel engine production exceeds this as an original equipment manufacturer to global brands.
As a diesel specialist, Isuzu supplies engines to more than 120 countries, across a wide range of industrial applications spanning construction machinery, freezer units, boats, special purpose vehicles, generators and energy conservation equipment.
Isuzu diesels are also specified in certain Renault, Opel and GM GM passenger vehicles.