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Mazda Australia steered BT-50 update

No Kodo: Little is known about the next BT-50 update but Mazda Australia had a say in what it would bring to one of the model's biggest markets.

Local Mazda team consulted early in new-model development, including BT-50

Mazda logo19 Aug 2015

By DANIEL GARDNER

MAZDA'S strength in the Australian market means the Japanese car-maker's local arm is closely involved with early model development discussions, including those for the imminent BT-50 one-tonne pick-up.

Thanks to the model's popularity in Australia, Mazda's local team was consulted from the start of its mid-life update, which will bring mild styling tweaks and a fettling of equipment when it arrives in late September/early October.

Speaking at the launch of the new Mazda2 Sedan in Adelaide this week, Mazda Australia marketing director Alastair Doak said the team was involved from an early point in the development project.

“Ours and Thailand are the two biggest markets for that vehicle so we were very much involved in the discussions about where it should go and how it should look,” he said.

“We have a very privileged position in that we are always involved in those product discussions very early on.

“There's ourselves, the US, Europe and Japanese domestic market and we are very fortunate even though in pure volume terms we are not as big as those guys, but because of our brand strength we are involved with those conversations.”

Just one image of the new-look BT-50 has been released to date and full details of styling and any possible technical changes are yet to be officially released, although Mazda Australia has previously confirmed the model would get a reversing camera, a “refined” interior and more connectivity technology.

Mr Doak explained that the update would be mild because the model was still performing well and did not warrant drastic changes, but the most significant alteration would be in the BT-50's marketing.

“We'll improve where we are but is it going to be a radical change? No, we don't believe it needs it,” he said. “We are working on other things such as improving our fleet offering around BT-50.

“We are talking to that small business fleet area, not large fleet stuff. We don’t want to get that business. We are working with our dealers around those programs and we are moving ahead with it.”

The BT-50 has sold consistently since its launch here in 2010 and with about 1000 moved each month, Mr Doak predicts a stock sell-out before the launch of the updated version.

“BT for us is running at record pace and we will probably run out of stock before the new one arrives, which is nice,” he said.

The BT-50 is the third best-selling 4x2 pick-up in Australia so far this year, with 3083 units shifted to the end of July, up 12 per cent over the same period last year. It trails the Toyota HiLux (6338) and mechanically related Ford Ranger (3336) for 4x2 sales.

It is further behind its rivals when it comes to 4x4 sales, with 5341 for the year – a 7.6 per cent rise over 2014 – but well off the pace of the all-conquering HiLux (15,022), the Mitsubishi Triton (13,396) and the Ranger (12,821).

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