Mazda’s BT50 has been around the block, and both in the styling and dynamic departments it has been stagnant for some time. Mazda Australia – which sells a whole lot of BT50s – decided to do something about this state of affairs.
The story behind the BT50 and Haval H6 C goes on a trip
MAZDA’S mothership in Japan has seemingly put any developments on the BT50 bakkie on hold while it sorts out its plans and the methodology of its exciting new joint venture with Isuzu Motors.
While the new venture with diesel engine giant Isuzu sure is exciting news for Mazda fans, the fact of the matter is that it will be years before a new Mazda bakkie rolls off the production line. Some punters reckon the new bakkie will only arrive in 2021.
For the folks at Mazda Australia though, this is not an ideal situation. The Australian market is apparently the biggest BT50 market in the world. Bigger even than the bakkiemad Thailand, where the Mazda is manufactured.
So when the product experts in Japan shrugged their shoulders and told their Australian colleagues that no more development work will be done on the current BT50 while the development process with Isuzu commences, the Aussies decided to take matters in their own hands.
They came up with a cunning plan: Mazda Australia contracted a local company that specialises in styling, specification and equipment updates, to give the BT50’s front-end a bit of a workover. How they went about it was very clever. The new-look Aussie bumper was designed to replace the original bumper in such as way that it would
not affect the vehicle’s homologation certification.
So the BT50s are still shipped from Thailand with their original bumpers. Then, after landing at an Aussie port, the Mazda Australia crew moves in, and replaces old bumper with the new bumper. In some cases a nudge bar is added.
In high-end models, the Thailandspec and outdated ‘infotainment’ system is also removed, and replaced with a seven-inch Alpine multimedia system. Finally, the completed vehicles are sent off to the dealer network.
Together with the styling and specification updates, Mazda Australia hopes to maintain a strong market presence with the BT50. We think it’s a clever move, in the Aussie market, at least.
In South Africa, the bakkie market is pretty much dominated by the Big Three: Toyota, Ford and Isuzu. The updates would probably only have a minimal effect here.
Mind you, we created our own ‘styling update’ for the BT50, by fitting the ARB bull bar, the T-Max winch and the ARB intensity lights. And it looks pretty good, too, we reckon. MAZDA AND JURGENS XCAPE IN NAMIBIA We said it last month, and we’ll say it again... the Mazda BT50 and the Jurgens Xcape recently returned from an epic journey through Namibia. It went all over the show but the main aim was to meet up with the famous Dr Flip Stander, of Desert Lion fame. Keep a lookout for a special feature and interview with the Doc in the August issue. In the meantime, here are some more snaps from the Namibia outing. MORE INFORMATION: mazda.co.za; campworld.co.za