Having conquered the road with the Amarok W580 ute, Volkswagen Australia and Walkinshaw are planning to go bush-bashing.
Volkswagen has confirmed it’s close to locking in production of a tougher take on the Amarok in partnership with Melbourne-based manufacturer Walkinshaw.
“We’re pretty keen to get [an off-road version] to market,” Nick Reid, Volkswagen Group Australia national marketing and product manager, told CarExpert.
“We’ve still got a little bit of work to do to get it over the line, but we’re pretty confident we should be able to do that.”
The tougher Volkswagen Amarok is currently expected to launch in the first quarter of 2022.
The off-road model will sit alongside the W580 rather than replacing it. Volkswagen and Walkinshaw plan to sell their new ‘grand-touring’ W580 ute through 2021 and 2022, and are targeting around 2000 sales.
Where the W580 is designed to improve the Amarok on-road, the next special will target passionate off-roaders – particularly in Queensland, where Volkswagen dealers are crying out for a Ford Ranger Raptor rival.
Some of the visual changes applied to the W580 are likely to carry over, but the off-roader is set to feature a “totally different approach to the suspension”.
Don’t expect to see any changes to the turbo-diesel V6, which is already the most powerful engine offered in a dual-cab ute for Australia.
The Walkinshaw W580 and its rugged cousin will be joined by a range of unique Amarok variants as the current model approaches retirement, likely late in 2022 or early 2023.
“We’ve still got a fair amount of time to go with the existing car, so we have some tricks up our sleeve to keep it fresh,” Mr Reid told CarExpert.
Despite its advanced age, the Amarok is selling strongly in 2021.
It’s currently the best-selling Volkswagen in Australia, with 1944 sales (up 22.4 per cent) to the end of March putting it ahead of the T-Cross (1712 sales) and Tiguan Allspace (1370 sales) on the charts.