2017 Chevrolet Colorado High Country 2

We reported yesterday the confirmation by Mazda that its next-generation BT-50 pick-up truck will be based on the Isuzu D-Max, moving away from previous sister truck Ford Ranger. Mazda’s executive officer for growing markets Hiroshi Inoue told ASEAN media in Japan that the Mazda and Isuzu one-tonne trucks would be differentiated in a similar manner to the existing BT-50 and Ranger.

With Mazda in bed, what about the relationship between Isuzu and General Motors that spawned the Chevrolet Colorado? It’s off. The automakers said that they had cancelled the pick-up truck deal struck in 2014, the latest under a joint product development arrangement that began in 2006, Automotive News reports.

This comes as the Detroit giant focuses on the higher end of the market while the Japanese commercial vehicle specialist sticks to what it knows best. The companies added that separate collaboration agreements, including one for commercial vehicles in the US, remained intact.

Colorado Xtreme and Trailblazer Premier2

“Both GM and Isuzu agree that due to unique requirements for each company, joint development of the next-generation midsize pick-up truck for (GM) markets is no longer the optimal model for this project,” GM said in a statement.

“The direction each company wanted to take (for the vehicles) was changing,” an Isuzu spokesman said, adding that the Japanese company intended to continue making trucks to be used as workhorses in markets including Australia, the Middle East, and Asia.

One GM executive said the “unique requirements” for GM are about the strategic shift it began making last year in Southeast Asia where it is now trying to focus more on competing in the higher end of the region’s truck and SUV markets.

Despite the obvious benefits of collaborating on development such as sharing costs, the executive, who declined to be named because he is not authorised to discuss the move, told Automotive News that GM had decided not to try to copy its Japanese rivals in our region where brands like Isuzu, Toyota, and Mitsubishi dominate.

Isuzu-D-Max-Beast-9

GM currently produces the Chevrolet Colorado pick-up truck based on the Isuzu D-Max. The Trailblazer seven-seater SUV is based on the truck, and both Chevys are made in Thailand for Asia and Australia. The Thai-made Colorado is a separate vehicle from the US-market Colorado, which is a GM-developed truck.

Last year, GM said it would return to the medium-duty commercial truck segment in the US after a seven-year absence. The company plans to sell trucks from Isuzu as rebadged Chevrolets there, the companies announced. They include six “low-cab forward” models.

This is another step in retreat by GM in our region. Early last year, GM shut down its plant in Indonesia that produced the budget Spin MPV that was expensive to build and didn’t catch on. At the same time, it also announced the end of Sonic sedan and hatchback production in Thailand. The Cruze and Captiva, both made in Thailand, are advanced in their life cycles.

We can also take this to mean that unless GM comes up with a replacement project (which is unlikely given the comments above), the current Colorado will be the last truck with a bow-tie that one can buy in these parts. It was never a class leader, the Chevy, but we did have some fun with the muscular truck.