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AAAE: ECB’s 300 Series protection is go
East Coast Bullbar’s LC300 steel and alloy bullbar range is market-ready
12 Apr 2022
By MATT BROGAN
AS AUSTRALIA’S oldest and most respected bulbar company, East Coast Bullbars knows a thing or two about the local market.
In additional to creating new steel and alloy bullbars to meet the increasingly stringent safety rules and complex vehicle design characteristics of any new model, the brand uses the latest computer-design techniques and manufacturing processes to ensure its products are not only guaranteed to fit, but to outperform its ever-growing lists of competitors.
Australian-made East Coast Bullbars, including those for the newly-released Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series, are designed and engineered to complement the vehicle’s complex safety technologies while ensuring a level of safety Australian buyers expect.
Speaking to GoAutoNews at the Australian Aftermarket Auto Expo in Melbourne this week, ECB national sales and marketing manager Gaven Paterson said the company’s range offers the ultimate in protection for LandCruiser 300 Series owners, with a rugged design adapted from ECB’s Hino truck range.
“We’ve taken a different approach to the 300 Series range,” he said.
“What we’ve designed here is really a touring bar, but one that offers the ultimate in protection.
“We’ve adopted the strength of our truck-style design from the bullbars East Coast Bullbars makes under license to Hino truck and bus. Essentially this is a two-post design with the plastics removed, relocated air directional vents and with the additional strength of the shoulder pipes with incorporated aerial tabs.
“A lot of these newer features come from customer feedback. By creating a solid bullbar without screwed-on fixtures or components there is no chance of items vibrating loose.
“We’ve also made sure that every version of the bar is airbag and winch-compatible.
“We haven’t made a non-winch version this time. But, what we have done that’s unique to this bar, is to supply a removable kit that means you have the versatility of simply fitting a winch later, or offering it to the next buyer when you sell your car.”
As an Australian-made product, the EBC range was able to be adapted to meet local buyer’s needs. The 300 Series bars are not only designed to protect the vehicle, its occupants and its mechanical components, but also to factor in high-grade variant options such as headlight washers and parking sensors.
All LandCruiser 300 Series bullbars are tested to meet or exceed ADR standards and are constructed from high-tensile materials to ensure lasting performance in extreme conditions. All are rated to accept a 12,000lb (5443kg) winch, feature the latest LED auxiliary lighting, and include a lifetime warranty.
Mr Paterson said East Coast Bullbars has gone from strength to strength since its acquisition by GUD Holdings in December 2020. GUD bought ECB along with the AMA Group’s Automotive Components and Accessories Division (ACAD) businesses CSM Service Bodies, Automotive Electrical & 4WD Accessories, Uneek 4x4, Barden Fabrications and Fully Equipped.
The collaboration meant East Coast Bullbars was able to showcase an extensive range of partner brands at the Expo, including Hayman Reese, Kaymar, Uneek and Rola.
“GUD Holdings acquired EBC in December of 2020 and a recent acquisition was APG (Auto Parts Group),” Mr Paterson said.
“So that came with Hayman Reese, Kaymar, Rola and the likes, and that’s been a tremendous move, and it’s really benefited our business, in particular because they’re manufacturing organisations and they talk our language.
“We’ve had a massive investment in capital equipment, and that’s ongoing. They’ve recently approved $3 million which has allowed us to get in a new cutting cell and bending machine, and in June we’ll roll-out our first robotic polisher from Bosch.
“That’s a $1m investment and we’ll soon have three of those, and that will allow us to polish up to 5000 products over a 12-month period. It will really help to improve our capabilities and certainly our capacity.
“We’ll be expanding what we do and offering a new range of products. Since the COVID period, we’ve found everything is in demand, and I think the biggest change has been the value of second-hand cars.”
The average fleet age of the Australian car parc and increased used-car pricing – particularly in the light commercial vehicle and recreational four-wheel drive segments, is driving more customers toward investing in their current vehicle and postponing that new-car purchase.
Mr Paterson said there was a healthy mix of new and used-vehicle customers represented in EBC’s database, and that the company is optimistic about the future.
“With this increased value, we’re finding more people are willing to spend the money and invest in quality aftermarket products. It’s been one of our greatest challenges,” he said.
“We used to have a lead time of five days, but at the height of the COVID period that blew out to something like 10 weeks. So, we’ve had to manage that.
“And to be fair, fuel prices have taken a little of the heat out of the market, but I still think we’ve in really good shape.
“All the signs are positive, and with the capacity and capability we have now – and that will increase over the next six months – East Coast Bullbars is in really good shape.”
Established in 1971, ECB is a Brisbane-based company with more than 90 employees based on the Redcliffe Peninsula. The company’s 14,000 square metre facility is home to 20 welding bays, its own powder coating plant, three CNC plasma cutters, two CNC routers, and a state-of-the-art mandrel bending machine.
The company sources the majority of its materials and services locally, with external services all supplied by Queensland-based companies and contractors.
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