2016 Mazda BT-50 facelift

Now here’s something interesting. Following a partnership agreement signed between Toyota and Mazda in May, now there’s word from Down Under that the next Mazda BT-50 pick-up truck might be based on the market leading Toyota Hilux, Car Advice reports.

This comes as news as the initial agreement only highlights that Toyota’s fuel-cell and hybrid technology is to be shared with Mazda while the latter’s economical SkyActiv petrol and diesel engines would be shared with Toyota in return. So this one-tonne pick-up truck deal could be part of the “long-term” collaboration that both carmakers have also agreed to.

Currently, the Mazda BT-50 is based on the Ford Ranger T6 and both are built at the AutoAlliance plant in Thailand. The BT-50 received a mid-life facelift this year, which means that Mazda will need to sort out next-gen plans soon.

With the lack of scale, a joint-venture is the logical way to go for Mazda, and it faces a choice of whether to continue with Ford or jump into the pick-up bed with Toyota. To this, Mazda managing executive officer Masahiro Moro politely answered: “We are working on a future program. It is very early days.”

Moro acknowledged that the BT-50 was an important truck, or ute, to Australia, New Zealand and certain South-East Asian countries and should it continue on with Ford, it will receive “adequate updates”. He declined to comment on whether the BT-50 will be twinned with the Hilux or not, dismissing the topic as a sensitive matter. “I honestly don’t know. They do have pick-up trucks in North America and Asia, but I truly don’t know because we have not discussed,” he said.

The official did not share much on the wider Mazda-Toyota partnership either. “We don’t have a complete agenda yet. This alliance was formed with the clear articulation of working together to develop better cars,” he said.

Mazda BT-50 facelift

2016 Toyota Hilux

Ford Ranger facelift