New D-Max and BT-50 bakkie twins ‘developed solely by us’, says Isuzu…

By: CAR magazine

An Isuzu official has suggested Mazda had no input into the development of the new D-Max bakkie, which will form the base for the as-yet-unrevealed next-generation BT-50.

Isuzu global spokesperson Eiji Mitsuhashi told CarsGuide the new D-Max was “developed solely by Isuzu”, suggesting Mazda was responsible only for styling its own version of the bakkie.

“This was developed solely by Isuzu, and we have decided to supply or provide this vehicle to Mazda as an OEM [original equipment manufacturer]. But it was developed purely by us,” Mitsuhashi emphasised, according to the publication.

“We independently developed this D-Max. We tried to strike a balance between passenger use and more off-road demand. We understand the increasing demand on the D-Max as a passenger car,” he added.

Revealed in October 2019, the new D-Max – which will be built both in Thailand and here in South Africa (the latter recently being confirmed as part of a R1,2-billion investment) – will provide a base for the next-generation BT-50 thanks to an agreement signed by the two companies back in 2016.

Expect the next BT-50 to share the D-Max’s 3,0-litre turbodiesel engine, which boasts peak outputs of 140 kW (at 3 600 r/min) and 450 N.m (between 1 600 and 2 600 r/min) in its latest form.

In July 2019, the managing director of Mazda Southern Africa told the next-gen BT-50 would feature “more robust” exterior styling and a cabin “probably comparable to the current CX-5”.

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