Mazda aiming for more "butch" BT-50
Mazda has confirmed its next-generation BT-50 will have a tougher appearance than the current car which has failed to capitalise on rising popularity for dual-cab utes.
Speaking to Australian media at the 2018 Los Angeles motor show, where Mazda revealed its new-generation 3 that showcases a new sensuous evolution of its Kodo design language, the company's design boss, Ikuo Maeda, conceded the company 'learnt a lesson' by trying to adapt its previous Nagare styling theme onto the ute that was co-developed with the Ford Ranger.
Mazda has since shifted away from the blue oval and is currently working with Isuzu on the next-generation BT-50, which will be twinned with the fellow Japanese brand's D-Max. Both models are due to hit showrooms in 2020.
Maeda said the car will feature a tougher exterior style than today's ute while retaining a family resemblance to the new Mazda3.
"I think our image is that we should be able to cover [this new Kodo design language] from SUV to passenger cars, but [with the] pick-up truck the rear tray has to be very flat so trying to deploy this [in the same way] is going to be very, very difficult," he said.
"It is also going to be very difficult to showcase this light texture because of the sheer size of the vehicle. And also with a pick-up truck you want to have an appearance that has more strength, is butch and masculine. That’s what I hope [that it will be more butch].
"We have the signature wing within the brand and if we can make it fit then it will ensure it remains within the Mazda family. I would say, in that case, we will make the brand face a bit more masculine with that vehicle."
While Maeda is confident the exterior design will align with Mazda's new focus on premium, he raised concerns about the overall quality, especially the interior, matching up with the company's philosophy.
"Design quality we will take care of, but fit and finish I am not quite sure," he said.
"The commercial vehicle has a significant importance within our line-up, so we will definitely be looking to improve that. I presume interior will be pretty difficult as the cost does not allow us to do anything... probably."
Mazda Australia boss, Vinesh Bhindi, however is confident the new-generation BT-50 will hit the mark when it arrives.
"BT-50 will be fine... we like what we saw,” he added.
As Editor in Chief of the Drive Network, Amac is one of Australia's most experienced automotive journalists with more than 25 years experience in newspapers, magazines, broadcasting and digital media.