Mazda Drops B-Series Pickup From U.S. Lineup

Mazda-bseries-dropped-560

After 37 years in the U.S. market, Mazda has dropped the B-Series compact pickup truck. The news was confirmed to PickupTrucks.com Tuesday evening by Jeremy Barnes, Mazda's U.S. director of communications & national events.

The first Mazda B-Series pickups were imported into the U.S. from Japan in 1972. Their small size and relatively fuel efficient sub-2.0-liter, four-cylinder engines would prove to be very popular with American truck buyers -- along with similar trucks offered by Toyota and Nissan -- during the oil shocks of the 1970s.

Mazda broke new ground with the B-Series when it became the first -- and only -- pickup to offer a rotary engine. The 1974-77 Mazda featured a 110-horsepower Wankel motor that could hit well above 7,000 rpm. Combined with a super-short 4.63 final drive ratio and gobs of torque, the REPU was the street-performance pickup of its day, yet it could carry up to 1,400 pounds of payload.

The second-generation 1980-85 Mazda B-Series debuted with larger 2.0-liter and 2.2-liter four pot engines. Its popularity grew. A record 119,127 units were sold in 1984 – third in the segment, behind Toyota and Nissan.

Mazda spent more than $100 million to design and develop the third-generation 1986-93 B-Series pickups to specifically meet the needs of the U.S. market, Mazda’s largest. U.S. buyers wanted a multipurpose vehicle that could be used for commuting and leisure activities as well as traditional commercial applications, whereas a pickup was considered a work vehicle throughout the rest of the world. The B-Series continued to use four-cylinder engines, though they grew in displacement up to 2.6 liters.

Ford stopped using the B-Series platform and started domestic production of the all-new Ford Ranger compact pickup in 1982. Beginning in the 1960s, Japanese imported pickups were slapped with a 25% federal tariff on every unit during a trade dispute between the U.S. and Japanese governments. The so-called “chicken tax” (which continues to this day for pickups) motivated Mazda and Ford to merge their trucks onto the Ranger platform in 1994 to cut costs.

The fourth generation B-Series pickup was produced from 1994-97 at Ford’s Twin Cities plant in Minnesota. It was the first time the B-Series could be purchased with a six-cylinder engine.

The fifth-generation (1998-2009) Mazda B-Series pickups saw a steady downward slide in sales, from 41,620 units in 1998 to only 1,319 units in 2008. The B-Series became trapped on the Ranger’s platform, which remained virtually unchanged. Meanwhile, both Asian and domestic compact pickup manufacturers continued to invest and develop new small trucks. The B-Series withered, and Mazda could do little to help its truck.

The 2010 Ford Ranger, which went into production at the start of the month, features new safety equipment but it’s officially scheduled to be phased out by 2011 and Ford hasn’t said what, if anything, will replace it.

Ford and Mazda share the Ranger platform around the globe, but outside of the U.S. it’s based on Ford’s Thai-built Ranger that shares only its name with the U.S. Ranger. A new global Ranger is currently being developed (code-named T6) and it’s expected that Mazda will continue to sell its pickups outside the U.S. on that platform.

With the continued decline in compact trucks sales, despite last year’s spike in fuel prices, it’s doubtful we’ll see another Mazda-badged pickup in the U.S. any time soon, if ever, because of the chicken tax. The Mazda B-Series isn’t the only small Japanese pickup that's vanished from the U.S. Mitsubishi and Isuzu have also left or announced plans to leave the segment during the past year.

Comments

Honestly, not much of a surprise...another sad turn for the Ranger/B-4000.

I hope Ford has the conscience enough to see that people still desire and want smaller, more fuel-efficient pickups, to the point where the "T6" will actually materialize in the US market.

I guess only time will tell, but it sure does grow frustrating seeing and hearing all the teaser evidence of a new small truck, yet continuing to hear nothing from Ford about the actual plans for replacement and roll-out of this supposed new vehicle.

Ford is known for showing off concepts like the raptor/scorpion and denying their existence. That is of course until the new vehicle/engine is dropped into a show. They denied that the raptor was being made until it showed up when it was completed. I doubt Ford will exit the compact truck market, they'll have the ranger grow a bit (hopefully not too much) and I hope they toss a potent ecoboost 4. I wouldn't mind a 4door compact truck if it had the motor to back it up. at least that would make a great daily while I finish the new lift on my big truck.

Build a new Ranger Ford! I just got rid of my 03 Ranger in favor of a Nissan Frontier (4 cylinder manual) I'm getting 23-24 MPG which is not quite as good as the Ranger but the Frontier is much bigger. (not to mentioned I got it for 16K new!)

I would have preferred to buy a domestic if I could have but the Dakota's MPG sucks, the Ranger is just too small, and the Colorado's track record is spotty at best.

The Ranger I had was very reliable and I would have stuck with it if they would have offered one the size of the Frontier with decent fuel mileage (mid twenties) good reliability, and some moderate capability (5-6 foot bed, 3500lb towing)

Bring back the ranger with the 2.5 liter engine has two spark plugs per cylinder. I hve one it has 295,000 miles on it and still going strong. I had toyota and nissan never got any where near this. Will post another comment when it reaches 400,000 see you then.

I didn't know they still made those things. Probably better for Mazda's image to not have ( since it has been basically unchanged for the last gazillion years )

Is anyone from this website going to the State Fair of Texas to report on the new Super Duty?

@Dave: We're so there.

We're looking forward to your report.

Good riddance, that’s what happens when you don’t update a truck for years. I heard from friends and co-workers that these trucks were bad on gas, and I mean terrible. It is sad when a 2009 model looks exactly like a dated exhausted 1992 model. No wonder the sales went down. Another thing that gets my attention is that people pay a price premium to get a Mazda when you can get an identical Ford for a lot cheaper. Wake up people.

Marc wrote:

" I heard from friends and co-workers that these trucks were bad on gas, and I mean terrible."

The 2009 Mazda B2300 has exactly the same combined EPA mileage figures as the 2010 Toyota Tacoma.

Good ridence

Too bad. This would have been awesome to see a new B-Series truck when the new Ranger comes along. It would have been awesome to see another Mazda truck. Maybe one that could rub it in the face of the Frontier, Tacoma, and the Equator. Remember the Mazda badges on the Ranger mule? Who knows. Maybe the B-Series is gone, but maybe a new Mazda truck is on the horizon. I can only hope.

I drove 1 of the B-Series years ago. It was brand new and sitting on a dealers lot.
Seemed nice until I got in and tried to drive the vehicle. It wouldn't go.
Felt like the transmission was locking up or the fuel injection was screwed up. It wouldn't go above 40 mph.

I returned it and said the vehicle was not operating correctly.
I immediately fell under the ire of the sales manager who was yelling at me.

My take is B-series are junk!


I left quickly never to return.

the bseries is only going away to come back again on the t6, it was confirmed expecially when you see the british ford website, along with the mazda. the mazda truck will come back on the new upcoming ranger with a different name plate, check it out and google it or something.;

-Christ Bless

Its sad to see, Ive owned 4 Mazda trucks, Ived loved some more than others (wouldve traded my 2008 B4000 for my old 93 B2600 any day) but generally their very reliable, hard working trucks that ask little to none in return. I keep my fingures crossed that we see a BT-50 or something of the likes within the next few years. Otherwise, by by B series :(

Have been driving my '95 B2300 extended cab 5 speed since '97 -very reliable, easy on gas- remarkably good around-town mileage on reg gas. Just wish it had more modern features-- rear cab doors, cruise, updated CD player. In desperate need of a paint job (finally.) Have been looking but am disappointed at more current alternatives-- esp considering cost vs reliability vs MPG. Am seriously considering opting instead for a make-over-- new paint, headliner and carpet, plus CD stereo, although would still have to go with out my much-wanted rear optional racing doors. Only major repairs have been to replace clutch; otherwise, standard stuff-- tires, a brake job. Still original air-- works great. Montgomery Ala, etc

I had a 96 B 4000 4x4 and drove it for 215,000 miles! Replaced the transmission twice in it and that was all. I regret selling it to this day as it was fun to drive and could turn on a dime. It was funny when I replaced the transmission with a rebuilt one from Ford which saved me $ 600 over the Mazda trans which was exactly the same transmission with Ford stamped all over it. Our government is killing us all with stupid rules and regulations!

The classic B-Series is the greatest truck ever built. 10 to 1 they outlast ANY Ford on the road. hell they outlast any other vehicle on the road, period. My first truck was a 1991 B2200 Single cab, it is still running strong with the current own, at over 700,000 kilometers, 3 timing belts & 2 water pumps, 2 head gaskets, and the valve guide seals replaced. Still runs & drives just fine, and averages 100 kilometers each way Monday to Friday.

It was a sad day when the B was replaced with the Ranger, it is an even sadder day that the line is being killed all together.

Okay, I am so out of the loop! I'm just finding this out.

I have a 2002 B2300 and it's the best vehicle I've ever had. Been driving this thing for almost 10 years and it has NEVER given me an issue. Amazing on gas and gets the job done.

I was researching to find out what the newer versions looked like and was devastated to see they've been discontinued. I'll ride this one until the wheels fall off.

I just traded a 2002 Chev. Avalance for a 2006 B400 Mazda truck it looks like new only 60,000 miles on it it;s 4x4 too, any good word on this? or did I mess up? my husband of 46 years passed away so I needed something smaller and better on gas. any good things about this truck ? so far I like it all seems to work ok, ya your all right nothing really update about looks think the sueside doors are cool, but it's ok as far as looks.

I have a 2002 Mazda B3000. 150000 miles and running great. I take good care of it so it looks new. The best thing for me of the B-Series is the fact that the newer models don't change much so mines still looks like a new one.

Am looking for mazda B2600 front wheel hub

My 20002 B-3000 is the best car or truck I have ever owned in almost 50 years of driving. Have 143,000 miles on this truck and it still runs like a top. Body is also still in very good shape.

We have owned Mazda B series trucks since the 80's. We have purchased one every three to four years, our last one in 2008. We love the trucks and have never had a problem with any of them. Now, we aren't sure what to do for our next truck. We would like to see Mazda bring back the trucks. We only drive Mazda's. We currently have a 2008 B-2300, V-6 2006 Tribute and a 2012 Mazda 3. What's next to go?

As an owner of a Classic B series, it is sad that those of us in Canada, that have to deal with SUPER high costs of fuel, can not get a fuel efficient vehicle like the B2000, B2200, or the B2600 series of trucks..

My Daily is a 1991 B2600i 4x4, and I get 7.5 to 8.1L/100km Which is as good or better then 75% of the new trucks on the road today.

The End of an era is a sad thing to see.

I know I am behind on this one but was sorry to see them go away. The best vehicle I owned was a 1994 B4000. I used for my mail route. Rebuilt tranny at one point, and just regular stuff. Sold it to a private party with 394,000 miles still going strong. Got a 2002 B3000, manual, drove it for the mail 1 1/2 year. Only got rid of it because I needed an SUV, so got a tribute. Tribute still going strong with 272,000 on it. They don't make them either anymore. hmmm where to go next?



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