Should Mazda bring its BT-50 pickup truck to the U.S.? The company has said that they are “listening” to see if the public wants it. Let’s take a closer look at its chances.
The BT-50 is a midsize truck. In the U.S. it would compete against the Ford Ranger, Chevrolet Colorado, Jeep Gladiator, Honda Ridgeline, GMC Canyon, and Nissan Frontier. The pickup truck field is set to get more competitive as the Hyundai Santa Cruz and Volkswagen Amarok coning to market in the next few ye
The backside of the Mazda BT-50 is pretty standard for a pickup truck.
Photo courtesy of Mazda
Mazda’s truck is built on the Isuzu D-Max platform and is built at Isuzu Motors Thailand. Despite this, the model has a fair amount of Mazda’s Kodo design language … at least on the outside. That starts at its face where the truck wears a grille and headlights similar to the three-row CX-9 SUV.
The inside is a different story. Here, the BT-50 is mostly an Isuzu but there are a few bobbles that are from the Mazda parts bin – sort of like what Toyota has done with the inherently BMW cabin of the 2020 Toyota Supra.
Under the hood is a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine that delivers 188 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission.
It’s available in either two- or four-wheel drive.
Mazda boasts that the model will be able to tow up to 7,716 pounds and have a maximum payload of 2,348 pounds.
The interior of the BT-50 is straight from the Isuzu playbook, but it does have some Mazda touches.Photo courtesy of Mazda
But will it come to the U.S.? In a statement, Mazda told Roadshow, “We are excited for those regions receiving the all-new BT-50, featuring Mazda’s powerful design, exceptional driving dynamics and utilitarian function,” Mazda said in a statement. “While we haven’t announced future availability of the BT-50 pickup truck in the US, we’d love to hear what our fans here think. We’re listening.”
Aside from demand, the biggest hurdle for the BT-50 to jump through for its arrival in the U.S. would be the fact that it’s subject to a chicken tax tariff. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) that recently replaced the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has a rules of origin clause for automobiles that requires 75 percent of the value of a vehicle to come from the area within the USMCA governing region. That tax and the cost of shipping could make the BT-50 cost prohibitive for most buyers.
The verdict: Don’t bet on the BT-50 coming to the U.S. anytime soon. If you want to drive it, you’ll want to head to Australia where it arrives for sale later this year.