Spied: Mazda BT-50 in California

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It wasn't that long ago that the U.S. pickup truck market offered both the Ford Ranger and the Mazda B-Series compact pickups for entry-level consumers. That all changed as full-size pickups got cheaper and mid-size pickups got larger.

Ford and Mazda have a long history of working together, and one of those collaborative efforts was the last-generation Ranger and B-Series sharing the same platform. Mazda ended production of the B-Series in late 2008, while the Ranger finished its run in 2011. That backstory is what makes this latest report from our spy shooters so interesting.

"With the Ford Ranger on course for U.S. hitting showrooms in just a few years, we were intrigued by two Mazda BT-50 pickups we saw at Mazda's North American headquarters in Irvine, Calif.

"The Mazda BT-50 pickup is mechanically based on Ford's T6 global Ranger; both models have been sold in global markets outside of North America. With Ford now working on the Ranger for American showrooms for the 2019 model year, we're left to wonder if Mazda is evaluating the prospect of piggy-backing on this development to bring the BT-50 to U.S. shores. The synergies make sense; the path has been set by Ford, and now a pair of BT-50 4x4 crew cabs have shown up at Mazda's U.S. headquarters. Consider us intrigued.

"While some of the variants of the BT-50 are built for right-hand-drive markets, both the silver BT-50 Pro 4x4 and the black BT-50 4x4 pictured are left-hand-drive models that would be appropriate for the American market.

"While Mazda has made no public pronouncements about bringing the BT-50 to the U.S., the fact that these pickups are now in the hands of Mazda North America, with a pending U.S. Ranger on the horizon, is certainly curious."

KGP Photography images

 

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Comments

Good eye.
There's only one reason that I know of to switch the steering to left side.

But will it be Ford built or Mazda built? Fords, despite their popularity, tend to have a reliability issue.

But will it be Ford built or Mazda built? Fords, despite their popularity, tend to have a reliability issue.

What is with those rear lower shock mounts, it is 2017 and they still have them... ooppss street queens!

Like the back end, and the front end, looks more aerodynamic then a brick, but the side view, to bulborus....especially around the front wheel...

Ford trucks are very reliable. If you want to talk Ford cars with myford touch or technology upgrades such as navigation systems, smartphone integration and driver assistance systems, that is another matter but not really a reliability issue either.

The Silverado which was redesigned in 2014 and the F-150 which was redesigned in 2015 receive below average reliability ratings. The top complaints are blue tooth pairing and voice recognition. This isn't reliability. The 2017 Toyota Tundra, which hasn’t had any modification in 10 years, received a “good” rating for reliability, but still failed to make the cut based on other factors.

Midsize trucks: Honda is only average and the rest are below average in reliability.

Trucks also writes:
or this year’s vehicle rankings, Consumer Reports started factoring in results from its 2017 Annual Auto Survey, which compiles feedback on reliability from its readers, into each model score.

Toyota’s usually do well in the survey because of the brand’s perceived reliability, but this year many cited problems with infotainment as well as build quality issues with the Tacoma, according to the survey. Results also showed owners reporting problems with vehicle electronics in nearly all truck models.

The Consumer Reports Survey also showed that in addition to problems with power equipment and in-car electronics, some Colorado and Tacoma owners reported issues with noise and leaks.

But that might have to do more with expectations, Sargent said.

Many customers coming from a unibody construction typical of more compact vehicles to body-on-frame may report issues in surveys that don’t reflect actual problems, he said.

For example, reporting that the ride quality of a truck is sluggish, noisy or uncomfortable could be more of an observation of what is characteristic about trucks, Sargent said. “If you’re on your eighth F-150, you may know more what you’re getting.”

I thought Mazda trucks already abandoned Ford and paired with Isuzu for their latest generation. But Isuzu has no presence in the US. The Mazda truck never had any Skyactiv tech, despite the 2.5L gas & 2.2L diesel engines being good options. With the chicken tax, there's no way they'd import it, so it would have to be made here, and Mazda has no assembly plants in the US. Maybe it's for China? But with the popularity of the segment in the US, Mazda might as well hop on board with Ford--minimal development costs & no plant investment.

They have a partnership with Toyota, but I don't see Toyota sharing the Tacoma. Personally, I'd rather they pair with Honda and drop their engines in a Ridgeline. A 2-door 4-cylinder version of the Ridgeline is different enough and less-premium enough to not step on Honda's market while improving economies of scale. But I don't think Honda ever does that.

I thought Mazda trucks already abandoned Ford and paired with Isuzu for their latest generation. But Isuzu has no presence in the US. The Mazda truck never had any Skyactiv tech, despite the 2.5L gas & 2.2L diesel engines being good options. With the chicken tax, there's no way they'd import it, so it would have to be made here, and Mazda has no assembly plants in the US. Maybe it's for China? But with the popularity of the segment in the US, Mazda might as well hop on board with Ford--minimal development costs & no plant investment.

They have a partnership with Toyota, but I don't see Toyota sharing the Tacoma. Personally, I'd rather they pair with Honda and drop their engines in a Ridgeline. A 2-door 4-cylinder version of the Ridgeline is different enough and less-premium enough to not step on Honda's market while improving economies of scale. But I don't think Honda ever does that.

Somewhere an auto-parts store owner is getting ready to check the "XL work trim" box for this baby.

@ Mark Williams,
"Full size trucks got cheaper"? It would be interesting to do a quick comparison of pickup cost vs inflation. While trucks are much more advanced and have many more options, I would contend that even stripped down models have risen much more in price than inflation or wage increases would warrant.

@ Mark Williams,
"Full size trucks got cheaper"? It would be interesting to do a quick comparison of pickup cost vs inflation. While trucks are much more advanced and have many more options, I would contend that even stripped down models have risen much more in price than inflation or wage increases would warrant.

Another dadgum midsize! What is needed are smaller pickups like the one Ford left behind. Small pickups have increased in popularity and price. But the manufacturers want to gouge the public with expensive crap!

I knew Big Al was in the states but I did not know that he brought his truck with him. He must have taken a week off and drove from Washington State to California to show those small truck lovers what they are missing

I knew Big Al was in the states but I did not know that he brought his truck with him. He must have taken a week off and drove from Washington State to California to show those small truck lovers what they are missing

lazy usa centric reporting - Mazda and Ford have officially ended this truck sharing project and the next generation Mazda BT50 will be a pair with the Isuzu DMax mid size truck.

I need to find something to replace my 2004 ranger in a few years. I already have a few full size trucks for the farm, but I like having a cheap pickup that gets good gas mileage for running around. There are no good options to replace it. The colorado is so expensive and doesn't get great mileage. I'm thinking my best option and probably also the cheapest option will be used newer generation regular cab f-150. Unfortunately the new ranger will be nothing like the old. Like the colorado expensive and not any more efficient than full size. No advantage over a full size unless you just want something that is slightly smaller for almost the same price. Actually looking at used pickups I can get a low mileage used f-150 for a lot less than a low mileage colorado. Disappointing. These midsize trucks seem nice. I always liked the tacoma. But totally lose in value when compared to full size.

Ford trucks are very reliable.
Posted by: Jason L. | Jun 17, 2017 11:16:54 AM

Not really, just look at JD powers and other 3rd party sites. I if I recall right Ford and Ram were tie below GM trucks, Toyota and Nissan.

Johnny doe. jd powers most recent 3 year dependability study for Large light duty pickup number 1 was f-150, 2 was tundra ,3 was tie ram and chevy. Heavy duty 1 chevy 2 tie ford with gmc. Maybe you should give Ford just a little bit of credit. Believe it or not they can build relatively reliable trucks. Even more reliable than chevy sometimes.

So, are we talking about a real truck here (albeit midsize)?

Live rear axle?
Boxed full frame (no unibody)?
Towing 7000 lbs?
Hauling 1200 lbs?
Manual Transmission available?
4WD option available (not AWD)?
LSD or Locking diff's available?
9-inch ground clearance?

=====================

This new Mazda BT-50 is very good looking but we'll have to wait and see if it comes to America and if it does how well will it do in crash tests, performance, and reliability.

This new Mazda BT-50 is very good looking but we'll have to wait and see if it comes to America and if it does how well will it do in crash tests, performance, and reliability.

I live here in Orange County, CA, and I saw the Mazda-branded pickups in Mazda's parking lot more than a year ago. Whether or not they're simply doing some groundwork for Ford, or they're actually going to consider bringing in their own version of truck won't be confirmed until they're nearly ready to unveil it to the public.

new Mazda BT-50??? These are vintage pickups. There is nothing new.

The "Mazda L" four cylinder gas engine in the BT50 is so old that it hasn't been built by Mazda since 2011.

The various Ford versions of the Mazda L engine have been used in just about every small car and small SUV around. The global Ranger and its derivatives are not new at all.

Ford fans are so horny for a new Ranger that you could probably roll out a 2011 Ranger in some fresh paint and new tires and they'd all wet themselves.

The NEW Ranger is still 2 years away. Until there's a new Ranger I don't think you'll be seeing anything remotely "new" from Mazda in the way of a small or midsize truck for North America anyway.

Ahh! Me so horny!
Me love you long time!

At the end of the day, the new Ranger will debut next year at the same time as the new Silverado.

Get a grip, Jim.

@Ken

Next year?

I'm a big believer in reality Ken. I don't expect to see the next Ranger on the streets much before early 2019. Since this is 2017, that makes it 2 years.

Questions?

Johnny doe. jd powers most recent 3 year dependability study for Large light duty pickup number 1 was f-150, 2 was tundra ,3 was tie ram and chevy. Heavy duty 1 chevy 2 tie ford with gmc. Maybe you should give Ford just a little bit of credit. Believe it or not they can build relatively reliable trucks. Even more reliable than chevy sometimes.

Posted by: Padre | Jun 17, 2017 11:15:47 PM

Sorry but your wrong and I was right, here's the link to even prove it.

http://www.jdpower.com/cars/study/2016-Vehicle-Dependability-Study/843ENG/Large-Light-Duty-Pickup/1124

I'd rather they pair with Honda and drop [Mazda SkyActive?] engines in a Ridgeline. A 2-door 4-cylinder version of the Ridgeline is different enough and less-premium enough to not step on Honda's market while improving economies of scale. But I don't think Honda ever does that.
Posted by: Greg | Jun 17, 2017

@Greg

Are you suggesting that Honda would reserve shop floor space and activity for a stripped down Ridgeline work truck, at a time when everybody seems to say that the Honda plants are selling every Ridgeline they can make at higher trim levels?

The earliest the new Ranger will likely appear is late 2018 or early 2019. It will be interesting to see if Mazda does re-enter the pickup market, but if so it might be well after the new Ranger. Mazda could be just running tests on these trucks with no immediate plans for them in the US. The market for all trucks could slow down in the next few years especially if the economy slows, but that is an unknown. The Mazda dealers might want a truck especially since car sales are slowing down while crossover, suv, and pickup sales are still going strong. The same is true with Mitsubishi since they have more limited models to sell especially since Nissan now has part ownership of them. If the current sales trends continue there will be more auto companies expanding their suv, crossover, and truck offerings while discontinuing some of their sedan models. FCA discontinued the Dart and 200 and this could be a trend that continues with other manufacturers.

The same is true with Mitsubishi since they have more limited models to sell

@Jeff S

Mitsubishi is toast. They have almost no dealerships left.

Mazda and Ford have ended their relationship. No Ranger based BT-50 anytime soon.

Also, Isuzu and GM have gone their seperate ways as well. So, no Colorado-based D-Max/Rodeo either.

Isuzu and Mazda are teaming up to produce new trucks from 2019 forward. Isuzu will do the grunt work for the trucks; Mazda will provide the styling for its version. Both trucks will be built at the Isuzu plant in Thailand and marketed in Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand and southern Africa, the primary market for these pickups. Great Britain may also get a few to satisfy the customer base there.

@papa jim--I thought that to until Nissan bought into Mitsubishi Motors and Carlos Ghosn took over at Mitsubishi. Renault and Nissan are going to share platforms with Mitsubishi Motors.

www.thetruthaboutcars.com/.../renault-nissan-takeover-gives-mitsubishi- chance-dump-embarrassing-product/

www.thetruthaboutcars.com/.../new-sedan-pickup-possible-mitsubishi-mulls- u-s-strategy/

www.thetruthaboutcars.com/.../ghosn-put-third-mr-chairman-cap-nissan- officially-takes-control-mitsubishi/

papajim--This source is not the liberal media, it is a car site. Apparently Nissan sees an opportunity with Mitsubishi and is even planning on expanding Mitsubishi product lines.

I'm not big on the old Lexus RX tail lights, but I like the rest. This [and the Ranger] appear to be sizable candidates to take on the Taco for sure.

RE papajim Mitsubishi is healthy in North America.
They are profitable.
Year over year sales increases.
Ally handles their auto consumer financing. Mitsu does not rely on low credit customers nor is it exposed to risk of the same as it once was.
Mitsubishi has new partner in Nissan Renault. Nissan purchased a controlling state at over 30%. Nissan offers resources and scale to Mitsubishi that will allow Mitsubishi to continue growth in North America and China and to stabilize and fix it's issues in other markets.
Factually Mitsubishi was doing well here even before Nissan became involved.

RE papajim Mitsubishi is healthy in North America.
They are profitable.
Year over year sales increases.
Ally handles their auto consumer financing. Mitsu does not rely on low credit customers nor is it exposed to risk of the same as it once was.
Mitsubishi has new partner in Nissan Renault. Nissan purchased a controlling state at over 30%. Nissan offers resources and scale to Mitsubishi that will allow Mitsubishi to continue growth in North America and China and to stabilize and fix it's issues in other markets.
Factually Mitsubishi was doing well here even before Nissan became involved.

BT-50 is switching to Isuzu developed platform for it's truck in 2019.
No reason at all for hope of a Ford based BT-50 anywhere unless Mazda reneges on the agreement with Isuzu and switches back to Ford.
Isuzu ended it's development agreement with GM for next generation midsize trucks, they could use a new partner to share development expense and capacity at Thailand assembly.

RE stevadore

Change the steering to the left side? Not a change, Mazda already builds and sells left hand steering wheel BT-50.

Example http://www.mazda.com.co/cars/nueva-mazda-bt-50/

A buddy has one & has finally agreed with me; it is definitely the ugliest out of all the mid-sizers to come out of Thailand; the front was definitely burrowed from a Mazda's SUV/sedan & the rear looks to feminine - girlie eyes starring back at you...what was this designer thinking?!

Probably one of the reasons why sales tanked while Ford's global Ranger sharing the same platform increased in sales/taking over market's worldwide....a sure sign the US version will be even better!

Mitsubishi is healthy in North America. They are profitable.
Year over year sales increases. Ally handles their auto consumer financing.

@allamerikan

Mitsubishi is healthy? Their entire company didn't crack the 100k mark in sales last year. None of their models sold over 35k cars last year. The Lancer? The Mirage?

C'mon!

Their products are completely white bread models that are fighting for the bottom tier in pricing and quality. Not healthy.

allamerikan is BAFO.

The headlights and tail lights are horrific.

An ugly truck that only a deranged chairborne ranger from Australia would buy.

Every angle of that truck is violently ugly. The lights on the tailgate look like the angry eyes on my cat when she's angry. Speaking of which, does anyone still put lights on tailgates? How cheesy and dated, like bumper-mounted lights like on the el camino and Datsun trucks.

Mazda, Suzuki, Mitsubishi and Isuzu are all on life support in North America.

Toyota, Nissan and Honda all offer superior products for every model that the other four makers sell. They also have strong manufacturing, distribution and retail resources in the US.

Mazda bet the whole farm on fuel efficiency and Green initiatives in their product development during the last 10 years during a time when gas prices were cut in half. Ouch! Can you name a Mazda product that is unique (apart from their rear-drive two seater sports car?)

Suzuki, Mitsubishi and Isuzu are all niche players in the US with poor distribution, financial and retail options available.

Isuzu is still in the US market to sell medium duty cab-over trucks and chassis. To my knowledge Suzuki has no retail operations in the US.

Mitsubishi has very few dealerships remaining. The recently closed their only US manufacturing plant.

Mitsubishi was hanging on by its fingernails back when Chrysler-Daimler-Cerberus crapped out almost ten years ago. Their product development in this market since then has been zilch.

So, is there any reason to be concerned or even interested in Mazda parking some four wheeled unicorns in their parking lot?

Actually Mitsubishi has become profitable but only marginally because of the sales of the Mirage and Outlander. The rise of Hyundai and Kia have hurt Mitsubishi, Suzuki, and Dahatsu (the former are no longer in the US but still have a global presence). I am not saying that these companies would have succeeded but Hyundai and Kia vastly improved their products and dealership and distribution. We will see what Nissan does for Mitsubishi but they are pouring a lot of money into them and Ghosn is personally taking Mitsubishi over. Mitsubishi will have to expand their dealerships and distribution in the US in order to have success. Ghosn said that Mitsubishi will retain separate dealerships from Nissan but products will be shared with Nissan and Renault. Further a new Mitsubishi truck could be offered in the US but internationally the new Triton will share production and design with the Nissan Navara. I doubt if Mazda and Mitsubishi do re-enter the truck market that they will offer a full size because of the dominance of Ford, GM, and Ram but it is possible that their global offerings could be offered as mid sized.

Mitsubishi will have to expand their dealerships and distribution in the US in order to have success.

@Jeff S

At this point Mitsubishi has declined to the point where it is just a brand name. It has none of the impact or cachet of a Mercedes, BMW or Audi brand.

@papajim--True, I was just providing the latest news on Mitsubishi. Having owned a 1985 Mitsubishi Mighty Max truck many years ago my main criticism was not the truck itself but the availability and cost of replacement parts. I would most likely not buy another Mitsubishi product but at that time I got a low mileage 2 year old pickup (31k) for $3,500 and drove it for 14 years with over 200k miles. Good truck and good service but my S-10 is a better truck and much more availability of replacement costs which cost a lot less. The Max did not have a full frame under it so it was much lighter and the S-10 has a full frame as does my Isuzu. I prefer a full frame on a pickup. I gave my Max to my mechanic who drove it for several more years. I got my money's worth out of that truck. I do miss having an 8 foot bed but I prefer the extended cab on the S-10.

Additionally, Mitsubishi never competed with Mercedes, BMW, or Audi--Lexus, Infinity, Acura, Cadillac, and Genesis are the competitors to the Germans. Mitsubishi's competition was other Japanese brands. I doubt few German luxury customers ever owned a Mitsubishi but Lexus would be a yes. Even Lexus early cars were styled after Mercedes.

@Jeff S

You take me too literally. I was talking about the impact that brand names can have.

Rolex, Mercedes, Apple, Budweiser are all brand names that have value on their own.

I wouldn't mind having a t-shirt with the Bud logo or the Rolex logo.

But, Mitsubishi? Not so much.

@papajim--Sorry misunderstood. Mitsubishi is not exactly a brand name that you aspire to even in TVs. I do have a small Mitsubishi air conditioner for my master bedroom which although good is very small and very expensive. My experience with my Max was good except the parts. If there were another Mitsubishi truck offered I would most likely go for a Colorado, Canyon, or Frontier. Over 18 years with the S-10 with just minor issues. Even the Isuzu though rated by CR as not good has been a good solid truck which is the same as the prior Colorado/Canyon.

Mark Williams
There will be not Mazda BT 50 sold in the US. Mazda has " divorced" Ford and now will have input into the new Isuzu Pickup when it is released

@Papajim
Mitsubishi, Isuzu , Nissan are more concerned about the general global market rather than the US



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