The designer who oversaw the birth of the outgoing Mazda BT-50 says its styling wasn’t a “failure” but added the Japanese firm would “breathe life” into the new model.

While the outgoing BT-50 shares much with the Ford Ranger, the next-generation model will be based on Isuzu’s new D-Max (the latter scheduled to start rolling off the Port Elizabeth production line only in the second half of 2021), with an official reveal set down for the "coming months".

Ryo Yanagisawa, Mazda design division chief designer, told motoring.com.au the company couldn’t simply apply its latest design language to the new bakkie.

“Of course, we cannot apply the Kodo design language as is on to the commercial vehicles [the BT-50],” Yanagisawa told the Australian publication via a translator.

“There is this concept of breathing life into vehicle that is the Kodo design’s concept. This concept itself is deployable to any type of vehicle,” he added.

Yanagisawa said he didn’t see the current BT-50’s design as a failure.

“For me, I don’t think BT-50 design was a failure. I think it is one of success,” he said.

“The positioning of Mazda plays a role versus Toyota and many brands out there. How Mazda should express Mazda’s characteristics, that’s something I focused on with the BT-50,” he explained.

“We worked with Ford back then and at that time the inner structure was common but the body surface was completely unique to Mazda,” Yanagisawa said.

“So we were able to express Mazda’s design we had back then to a very high degree.”