21st July, 2014


I have been lucky enough to be able to purchase a new model
Toyota Prado 150 Series. I was wondering what process ARB
goes through when a new model of a popular 4WD is about
to arrive to ensure that they have compatible accessories in a
timely manner?

Obviously you guys would spend a considerable amount of
time and money in researching this. How early does the
liaising with the manufacturer begin and what type of
testing is done on the final product?

I guess the bottom line is, when will you have a bull bar
available for the 150 Series Prado?

Thanks for your time,


Dear Steve,

Thanks very much for your question. Your letter highlights a subject that many people may not understand. It’s also one that is the subject of great frustration to us and to our customers.

Australia usually represents a very small percentage of the international market for 4×4 vehicles, therefore our somewhat unique need for accessories is something that usually only concerns the local importer or manufacturer’s regional headquarters.

These organisations are, understandably, very guarded about their new models. Even when ARB gets the opportunity to see pre-release information, data or a prototype vehicle (and this only happens when we are the successful bidder for the original equipment manufacturer accessories), we are not permitted to use this information to develop our own products. This is because we are under confidentiality agreements up until the retail release of the vehicle.

As such, this leaves us very much on our own, so we have a variety of means we can employ to get our products to market as quickly as possible. If the model is already on sale in another country, it is not uncommon for us to import one to get a head start. This was not the case with the Prado however, with it being simultaneously released around the world late last year. Thus the best we could do was to place an advance order for the vehicle at our local dealer as soon as we heard there was a new model on the way.

Once these vehicles arrive, our team of development engineers descend on them like hungry beasts and start the evaluation and development process.

We cannot overemphasise the huge amount of development and testing work that goes into every accessory we release for these modern vehicles. With their ever more complex systems and hanging structural and safety componentry, each vehicle presents a new set of challenges. For example, to correctly tune the bull bar mounting system, our engineers crush the original equipment componentry ahead of the structure to which the bull bar will be mounted. This crush is done in our laboratory under controlled circumstances with precise measurements taken of the forces required, and a displacement curve developed. Subsequently, we can then ensure our mounting system is tuned to that curve. Even though we employ sophisticated computer design and modelling to develop componentry, this process can require several prototypes and live testing to perfect, all of which takes time. Once the mounting system is developed, the team of designers adds visual and practical elements to ensure a harmonious appearance on the vehicle. Again this is developed in a CAD environment, but until we can actually see a prototype on the vehicle, it’s not possible to perfect the design. Only when that process is complete can we begin on and off road testing and evaluation of the products.

As a side note, with all of this time-consuming and expensive development activity occurring, it is sometimes with a little scepticism that we view other manufacturers’ release of their product ahead of ours. Often when this happens we know they have hastily adapted something and cannot have done their development work anywhere near as thoroughly and correctly as would be required.

From a business and customer service perspective, our desire is always to have our accessories on sale as soon as possible. The fact that they are often not available for several months after the vehicle is first seen is testament to the thoroughness we apply to our development process and your assurance that we put product testing and design excellence in front of all other considerations.

Steve, in terms of when the bull bar for the Prado will be available, I’m sure you’ve already noticed it on the front page of this newsletter, so happy reading!

Greg Milton
(National Product & Services Manager)