To protect passengers sitting on the third row of seats of the "CX-8" SUV (sport utility vehicle) from a rear-end collision, Mazda Motor Corp employed a frame having a "forked structure" for its rear (C) pillar.
The CX-8, which Mazda will release Dec 14, 2017, in Japan, is the company's first vehicle equipped with a frame having the structure.
The CX-8 is Mazda's highest-end car targeted at the Japanese market. Expected to be used by many passengers (e.g. family and friends), it comes with three rows of seats. With the third row of seats, the rear space of the vehicle (crushable zone) became narrow, potentially making it difficult to efficiently absorb/disperse impact energy at the time of a rear-end collision, compared with SUVs having two rows of seats.
Therefore, Mazda used a forked structure for the lower part of the rear frame and improved the joint strength of the underbody and the rear frame. Also, energy at the time of a collision is dispersed to the forked frame, enabling to efficiently absorb energy. As a result, it became possible to protect passengers on the third row of seats even with the small crushable zone in the rear part of the vehicle, the company said.