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Mazda teases restyled BT-50 workhorse

Nip and truck: Mazda has moved to toughen up the BT-50, ditching its polarising ‘smiling face’ for a more aggressive look.

Australia-only second facelift set for Mazda BT-50 to usher in new-look front end

Mazda logo10 Apr 2018

By JUSTIN HILLIARD

MAZDA Australia has confirmed it will release a second facelift for its BT-50 utility next month, which is set to usher in a redesigned front end that is exclusive to the local market.

Significantly, the new BT-50 will forgo the ‘smiling face’ of its predecessor, which will help “to strengthen the ute’s impressive road stance”, according to the Japanese marque.

The BT-50’s visual centre of gravity has been lowered thanks to squared-off edges for its bumper, prominent foglight surrounds, and a large trapezoidal lower air intake with a skid plate.

The grille has also been worked over with horizontal bars that Mazda Australia said were added “to straighten out of the front of the car, giving the ute a wider and more solid bearing”.

Furthermore, equipment levels will be upgraded across the BT-50 range when the new model lobs, but exact changes are yet to be detailed.

The model has been on sale since 2011, while its first facelift arrived in 2015.

While a single teaser image has been distributed, it does not offer a clear look at the overhauled design, instead showing off the passenger-side front wheelarch, door and alloy wheel, which appear unchanged over the current BT-50.

The facelift was designed and engineered locally in partnership with EGR Automotive – an automotive design, engineering and manufacturing company operating out of Brisbane, Queensland and Tullamarine, Victoria.

According to Mazda Australia managing director Vinesh Bhindi, the local investment in the BT-50 was made to ensure the workhorse remained relevant in its increasingly-popular segment.

“The utility segment is a huge priority in Australia and for Mazda,” he said.

“We're always looking to improve and enhance our product offering, to remain competitive and appealing to our customers.

“This upgrade gives the BT-50 a stronger and tougher bearing, which we know Australians look for in a ute.”

Sales of the BT-50 took a small hit last year, with 14,119 examples sold to the end of 2017, representing a 2.7 per cent decrease over the 14,504 deliveries made in 2016.

This effort saw the Mazda finish seventh in the overall utility segment last year, trailing the Toyota HiLux (47,093 units), Ford Ranger (42,728), Mitsubishi Triton (23,605), Holden Colorado (21,579), Isuzu D-Max (17,717) and Nissan Navara (16,532).

The BT-50’s downwards trend has continued in 2018, with 3407 vehicles finding homes to the end of March, representing a 3.5 per cent dip over 3531 examples sold during the same period in 2017.

Pricing and specification will be released alongside the upgraded BT-50’s official reveal, which is set to occur ahead of its arrival in local showrooms in May.

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