Mazda BT-50 bakkie bites the dust in South Africa

Published Mar 6, 2024


Mazda has confirmed that its BT-50 bakkie range will no longer be sold in South Africa.

The latest-generation BT-50, which is based on the Isuzu D-Max and imported from Thailand, has been a slow seller on the local market. In the past six months an average of just nine units per month were registered in the country.

Earlier versions of the BT-50, locally produced and based on previous generations of the Ford Ranger, were a more common sight local roads.

But the latest version simply could not compete as a fully imported model.

“The South African LCV, and in particular the double cab market, is extremely well developed and competitive with locally manufactured Brands and nameplates dominating sales,” said Craig Roberts, MD of Mazda Southern Africa.

“This factor, as well as an extremely challenging landscape for imported vehicles, competing directly with locally manufactured products has led Mazda SA to make this difficult decision.”

We do admire Mazda’s honesty here. Other carmakers tend to let go of their slow selling models with radio silence.

This is not an international discontinuation, and the Thai-built model will still be available in other global markets where it currently competes. Interestingly the BT-50 was also axed in New Zealand recently, although it remains for sale in Australia, which is a big market for the ute.

The BT-50 has already been removed from Mazda SA’s website, although the importer says there is still inventory for sale.

The company has reiterated that all BT-50s currently on the road, including previous generation models, will still enjoy support from Mazda SA.

Before its discontinuation, the double cab bakkie range cost between R630,400 and R818,400, and was available with 1.9-litre and 3.0-litre Isuzu turbodiesel engines.

When IOL tested the BT-50 back in 2021, we were impressed with its striking design and classy cabin, but felt that its harsh ride quality let it down. Read our review here.

While Mazda SA moves away from the commercial vehicle market, it is expanding its portfolio in other areas, particularly the premium SUV space where the CX-60 line-up was recently expanded with a 3.3-litre six-cylinder turbodiesel model.

IOL Motoring

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