“It will be next year,” Benders said.
“It will get rid of the eyebrows,” he said, referring to the ute’s headlights with their orange lenses (see above), though he gave little away about what specific styling changes were expected.
Benders said that while tradies and fleet buyers haven’t flocked to the controversially styled ute, grey nomads and older buyers in the market for a practical and affordable tow vehicle have been drawn in.
“I don’t think it has hurt us in the private market, because we’re actually number one or number two with private buyers,” he said.
“If you drive out on the road, you can see a BT-50 coming at you. You have to look at the Ranger twice – sometimes I go ‘is that a Ranger, or is that a Colorado?’. They’re all sort of the same shape, whereas the BT-50 stands out.
“You can argue whether it has gone too far. But it’s got a road presence.
“If we’re going to chase fleet – when we get to those guys, they go ‘well, I don’t want to stand out that much’.”
As CarAdvice has previously reported, Mazda’s general manager of design, Maeda Ikuo, said the ute needs to a adopt a “tough look”.
“Some city siders in Australia said it looks nice but still needs to have tough look, that’s what I heard,” Maeda said at the 2014 New York motor show. “[It is seen as] a little too stylish, too car-like. But that was the concept of that vehicle."
Maeda told CarAdvice that he “hopes” the brand can make the BT-50 more appealing to a broader audience by introducing some elements from the Kodo styling language.
“I think that we will be able to find some kind of solution, even though this is a commercial vehicle and it has a box at the back,” he said.
“But even if I can get a solid and strong feel on the body side, probably we will be able to put some of the flavour of Kodo. Not necessarily to add movement to it, but for a strong feel.”