Volkswagen has confirmed that the new Amarok ute will be based on the next-generation Ford Ranger and built at a Ford plant in South Africa.
It will share Ranger underpinnings but have its own styling inside and out. It is also expected to come with Ford engines, although VW hasn’t disclosed powertrains.
The likely options are a 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel four-cylinder and a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6, both matched to 10-speed automatic transmissions.
The VW-Ford alliance is the latest in ute development deals between commercial rivals to save costs and maximise profits.
Isuzu and Mazda signed a supply arrangement in 2016, and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance did pretty much the same thing last month.
The next Nissan Navara will be a clone of the next Mitsubishi Triton. The next Mazda BT-50 that Mazda teased in a recent photo (below) is based on the next Isuzu D-Max. Both are expected in New Zealand either later this year or early next.
VW said in a statement: “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.”
Added Thomas Sedran, chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen commercial vehicles: “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 current Amarok is a standalone VW product, built at the carmaker’s plant in Argentina.
The VW-Ford agreement clearly extends the life of Amarok. “Ultimately it is our customers who will benefit, as without the cooperation we would not have developed a new Amarok,” a VW commercial executive was reported as saying.
The new Amarok is likely to appear in New Zealand showrooms in 2023, around the same time as the next Triton. The Triton-based Navara is expected in 2025.
The new Ford Ranger is due to break cover either late in 2021 or early in 2022. It is expected to come from Thailand, which supplies the current model to New Zealand.
A Ranger-based Amarok raises questions about exactly how much Ford kit will be used. For instance:
- The current Amarok has rear disc brakes, most Ranger models have rear drums
- Amarok has a wider rear tub than Ranger and more clearance around wheel arches
- Amarok V6 has permanent 4WD, Ranger has part-time 4WD.