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Aussie bull bar design for new Mazda BT-50

Accoutrement: An accessorised new Mazda BT-50 with bull bar at the recent AIMS in Melbourne.

Mazda announces Australian-developed bull bar option for its all-new Mazda BT-50

Mazda logo19 Jul 2011

By MIKE COSTELLO

MAZDA Australia has developed an airbag-compatible bull bar accessory range for its all-new BT-50 ute from the model’s launch in the last quarter of this year.

The Japanese company said local engineers spent many months ensuring the bars met Australian Design Rule (ADR) requirements, crash-testing the bull bar mounting system on several vehicles to ensure faultless airbag deployment.

BT-50 chief designer Ryo Yanagisawa and a group of Mazda’s top-selling BT-50 dealers contributed to aesthetic design of the bar, which will be supplied by Queensland-based EGR Automotive – a major supplier of original manufacturer equipment (OEM) parts and accessories.

The bar will be available in either polished aluminium or powder-coated black steel, with the aluminium model made in New Zealand and the steel version in China.

The steel bar was displayed on a kitted-out BT-50 dual-cab at the Australian International Motor Show in Melbourne earlier this month.

Mazda said both bar variants were subjected to more than 2000 hours of salt spray testing, claimed to be the equivalent to 50 years of average customer use.

The crash testing – done at Ford Australia’s You Yangs proving ground in Victoria – included both low speed tests to ensure the airbags did not deploy unnecessarily and higher speed tests to make sure they did trigger with the appropriate impact force.

Spotlight and UHF radio antenna mounting points are built into the bull bar, while engine cooling issues have also been accounted for.

Mazda Australia public relations manager Steve Maciver said pricing for the bull bars and other accessories would be announced along with vehicle range pricing closer to launch.

Other accessories will include sports bars, a nudge bar and side steps.

Mazda has drip-fed information on its new commercial contender over recent months, separately revealing the model’s dimensions, engine range and active safety equipment.

Mazda also staged the world debut of the redesigned B-pillarless BT-50 Freestyle Cab variant, again featuring rear-hinged ‘suicide’ rear doors, at the recently-concluded AIMS.

It was Mazda’s second global premiere in little more than eight months, following the first appearance of the BT-50 dual-cab at the 2010 AIMS in Sydney, reflecting Australia’s position as the world’s largest potential market for the BT-50.

The ute segment is set to be shaken up over the coming months, with Mazda’s entrant to be joined by its new Ford Ranger mechanical twin and Toyota’s facelifted HiLux this year, as well as the new Holden Colorado and a tweaked Nissan D40 Navara in early 2012.

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