The second-generation Volkswagen Amarok, due in 2022, is expected to be manufactured at the Ford Silverton factory in South Africa for European customers.
Currently being developed by Ford Australia, the new vehicles will be based on the next-gen Ford Ranger and will be the first of a new range of collaborative vehicles developed under the Ford-Volkswagen alliance.
Launched in 2011, the Amarok is Volkswagen’s first attempt at a one-tonne, 4×4 pickup truck (the VW Taro of the 1980s and 1990s was a rebadged Toyota Hilux). It was a very costly development as there was very little crossover with other products, and the limited market availability (the Amarok isn’t sold in either of the two largest one-tonne pickup markets, Thailand or the US) meant that Volkswagen has struggled to recuperate the costs.
As one Volkswagen boss told us, “our shareholders have never been huge fans of the Amarok.” And this shows; apart from a new engine and new technology, the Amarok’s visual appearance has remained virtually untouched since its launch in 2011. When it came time to develop a new model, the vote was unanimous – they had to find someone else to develop it for them.
In late 2017, Volkswagen approached Ford about the idea of collaborating on commercial vehicles. The two manufacturers are the last not to share a product on a large scale for light commercial vehicles and, with rising development costs, it was only a matter of time before this came to an end.
VW Amarok 2022 Engine and Driveline
The question that everyone will be asking is ‘what engine will it have?’ and the answer is, we’re not quite sure. As far as we’re aware, the collaboration between Ford and Volkswagen only goes as far as the chassis, and therefore it’s likely that Volkswagen will continue to use its own range of engines and transmissions.
Since switching to Audi’s EA897 3.0-litre V6 engine, Volkswagen Amarok sales across Europe have increased almost 40% highlighting a huge demand for larger displacements in the pickup sector. However, with increasing scrutiny on emissions, it remains to be seen whether Volkswagen will keep with this or downsize again to a smaller four-cylinder diesel like the 2.0-litre EA189.
Currently, the Amarok is produced in Hannover (Germany) for European customers, although there is an additional factory in Pacheco (Argentina) for South America. However, the Hanover production is limited to around 80,000 as it is also home to the Transporter van range, a far better-selling and profitable vehicle for Volkswagen, and so production is limited to around 80,000 units per year.
Production was due to finish in May, but this has been brought forward due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It’s unclear whether Volkswagen will restart production once the factory reopens or use the existing supply until run-out.
Meanwhile, Ford Ranger production is a lot more versatile with factories located in Detroit (USA), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Silverton (South Africa) and Rayong (Thailand). Last year, Ford increased capacity at Silverton from 100,000 to 125,000 units and is, therefore, the logical production site for the future product.