Amarok platform could handle the upgrades
There is a general tinge of sadness about the VW Amarok. Everyone knows the bakkie’s retirement date is soon to be measured in mere months, instead of years.
As with any successful product, towards the end of the model lifecycle, the special edition variants start happening. It is part proven product strategy but also a way to include some newer technologies, with an older platform.
South Africa’s twin bakkie market, Australia, has shown no shyness in giving the Amarok a retirement party of value. With enormous demand for VW’s V6-powered Amarok and an appetite for enhanced OEM double-cabs, the Australians have triggered a joint-venture between Tom Walkinshaw developments and VW.
The result is VW’s Amarok W580, which has finishing design and suspension upgrades, from Tom Walkinshaw’s technicians and engineers. But is there potential for even more?
VW’s Australian marketing executives admit that the huge demand for Ranger Raptor type bakkies, cannot be ignored. But how best to service that demand?
There are no concrete product plans from VW for an Amarok rolling 17-inch wheels with huge volume off-road tyres, but the market is certainly there. Especially if one looks at Ford Ranger Raptor sales.
The Amarok W580 rolls 20-inch wheels and has a tyre and suspension set-up that is biased towards road driving. That said, with its enormously strong ladder frame, there is no question that Amarok’s platform can handle a more extreme suspension configuration and tyres choice, for getting air over jumps and crushing the most challenging terrain.
Tom Walkinshaw’s staff would be the best people for VW’s development of a Range Raptor rivalling Amarok.
There might be a potential conflict in terms of product development trajectory between Ford and VW, with the former taking responsibility for the next-generation Amarok. But as part of the current German double-cab bakkie’s production runout, a hardcore off-road version would be a great send-off.