Friday, July 29, 2016
Will Mazda Produce Its Own Pickup-based SUV?
Mazda has already announced that its next-generation pickup truck will be produced with Isuzu. With a collaborative partnership that spans more than a decade (Isuzu produces trucks for Mazda’s domestic market requirements), this agreement is seen as a logical extension. Of course, given Isuzu produces a pickup-based SUV on its pickup truck, the mu-X, will Mazda get something similar?
In an interview, Mr. Hiroshi Inoue, Executive Officer for Emerging Markets Business for Mazda has given a straightforward answer, “no”. But that’s not to say they considered making one.
In 2010, when Ford and Mazda collaborated with the Ranger/BT-50, Mr. Inoue said that Mazda seriously thought of developing its own SUV based on the Everest. However, Mazda executives said that the appeal of such a vehicle is limited. With sales mainly for emerging markets and the driving dynamics still nowhere near Mazda standards, the company concluded that it wasn’t wise to use their limited resources/manufacturing footprint to develop this sort of vehicle.
Moving forward, Mr. Inoue believes that going with a globally competitive product such as the CX-5 will help Mazda in this segment. He says it will continue to serve as an alternative to pickup-based SUVs. This is in line with the company’s strategy to offer a premium line-up for customers.
Meanwhile, when quizzed more about this next-generation pickup collaboration, Mr. Inoue said that the Mazda and Isuzu pickup will be different the same way the Ford and Mazda pickups are. Mazda’s next-generation BT-50 will retain the brand’s unique key points and won’t simply be a badge job. It will be built by Isuzu at its Samrong Plant in Thailand though.
And as for their partnership with Ford? With Mazda and Ford jointly owning the Auto Alliance Thailand (AAT) manufacturing plant (50/50 share), Mazda will continue to utilize the assembly plant to produce its passenger cars and CX-series models side-by-side with Ford’s pickup and SUV line.