The new Volkswagen Amarok – and the first be based on the Ford Ranger – will be in showrooms in 2022, the German car maker has confirmed overnight as both brands provided updates on their joint venture on commercial vehicles.
The current generation Volkswagen Amarok – a standalone model made wholly and solely by VW – is made in Argentina.
A media statement issued by Volkswagen overnight said: “As lead partner, Ford will in future produce the new version of the Amarok for Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles based on the Ranger. The Amarok successor will then be made as of 2022 at Ford’s Silverton plant in South Africa.”
Ford did not disclose timing for the next generation Ranger, however CarAdvice understands it will precede the next generation VW Amarok and is due some time late in 2021 or in the first half of 2022.
The alliance between the two brands is likely to be a formidable combination. The Ford Ranger has ute market leadership in Europe and is strong in most other countries (including in Australia where it is the second biggest-selling car outright behind the Toyota HiLux), whereas the current VW Amarok has not made the same impact.
Thomas Sedran, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, said in the media statement: “What is important for both partners is the utilisation of the same platform. At the same time we will both be able to fully deploy our strengths.”
The VW executive also confirmed the 2022 Volkswagen Amarok will have a unique appearance inside and out, even though its underpinnings will be shared with Ford.
“Through custom designs and interfaces we will clearly differentiate the two models. For us as Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, our sights with the Amarok successor are on our main markets, above all in the EMEA economic area (Europe, the Middle East and Africa).”
In the most telling sign that the current generation Volkswagen Amarok has not met the car maker’s global sales targets – even though it is relatively successful in Australia, which is one of its biggest markets – the executive in charge of commercial vehicles said:
“Ultimately it is our customers who will benefit, as without the cooperation we would not have developed a new Amarok.”
Volkswagen did not disclose what engines will be used to power the new Amarok, however CarAdvice understands it will adopt at least two key Ford engines: a 2.0-litre twin turbo diesel four-cylinder and a 3.0-litre turbo diesel V6, both matched to 10-speed automatic transmissions.
What is unclear at this stage is whether the 2022 Volkswagen Amarok will continue with rear disc brakes as it does currently (versus rear drums currently on most variants of the Ford Ranger) and if its size will change.
The VW Amarok currently has one of the widest ute tubs with the most clearance between each wheel arch. Will the new Amarok ute tub shrink slightly if based on the Ranger platform, or will the Ford frame be able to accomodate a wider tub?
The current VW Amarok TDV6 has permanent all-wheel-drive. It is unclear if this will still be available on the new model, given that the current Ford Ranger has a selectable four-wheel-drive system that can only be used off-road.
While the external appearance is expected to be unique between the two vehicles, it remains to be seen how much of the interior will be unique to Volkswagen, which customarily prides itself on its upmarket appearance.
In the meantime, the Volkswagen Amarok keeps trucking on in the local ute sales race, with V6 models accounting for the majority of demand.
While it doesn’t challenge the Toyota HiLux or Ford Ranger for leadership, and is currently ranked ninth behind the Mazda BT-50 in the ute class, the current VW Amarok V6 has the most power and torque among its mainstream rivals (with the exception of the full size US pick-ups) and remains one of the strongest vehicles when it comes to towing and carrying heavy loads.