Volkswagen wasted no time in declaring the highly-anticipated new Amarok “uniquely different” from its production twin the new Ford Ranger during the VW bakkie’s global launch on Thursday.
The new VW Amarok – expected in South Africa before the end of the year – are built alongside the new Ford Ranger at the Blue Oval’s Silverton assembly plant.
The result of a joint development between the two marquees sees the bakkies share a platform, chassis, suspension, engines and transmission.
VW says the only visible similarities between the Amarok and Ranger, which can’t be avoided due to their mass production process, are the “roof rails, side mirrors and door handles”.
“The underwear, which is very costly and investment intensive is the same,” said Carsten Intra, CEO of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, during a live teleconference from Hanover on Thursday.
“But the touch and feel, interior, dynamics and the quality, which is typical of a Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle, that is coming from us. Everything that is touchable, is pure Volkswagen.
“You can say it is a completely different vehicle from the Ranger, built on the same technical platform.”
ALSO READ: This is it: Volkswagen’s new Amarok(star) officially revealed
VW is also wary of not falling into the same trap as Mercedes-Benz during its ill-fated collaboration with Nissan.
Mercedes’ X-Class was built by Nissan on the same platform as the previous generation Navara, but the Merc bakkie never took off and was eventually canned.
A major contributing factor was that the X-Class was never deemed to be of proper Mercedes quality and, therefore, never justified its price hike over the Navara.
“We have definitely taken note of the history with the Navara and the X-Class. We are confident of not making the same mistakes,” says Ryan Gillingham, Customer Insights Manager at Volkswagen South Africa (VWSA).
The new Amarok in road-orientated Aventura guise.
“What does count in our favour is that we have extensive experience in the bakkie segment with the current Amarok.
“This is also not our first alliance with another manufacturer, with similar collaborations dating back decades.”
New Amarok boost for South Africa
Mark Handley, head of Commercial Vehicles at VWSA, firmly believes that the new Amarok being built in Silverton is already a massive logistics boost for the carmaker. The current Amarok is being imported from Argentina.
“Geographically, there are massive benefits,” says Handley.
“We are perfectly placed to ship to Australia and also to grow our supply to sub-Saharan Africa.
“There will also be no more shipping costs and additional transport costs to get stock up to Gauteng and the delivery lead time will be shorter.”
Power will not disappoint
Whereas the current 190 kW version of the Amarok is the most powerful production bakkie in South Africa, which has created a niche for itself, the new generation’s top offering will share a 184 kW 3.0-litre V6 powerplant with the Ford Ranger.
Handley is confident though that the new offering will not disappoint potential buyers.
“The new V6 performs very similar to the current V6. It might be down 6 kW on power, but gains 20 Nm of torque.
“The V6 will be reserved for the top offerings, the Panamericana and the Aventura. Buyers looking for these specific products will not be disappointed. These will be top-end offerings with power to match,” added Handley.
The final model line-up, body shapes, specifications and pricing is set to be announced in due course.
To more of the new Amarok, click here.