We’ve seen the Ford Ranger, and we know the Volkswagen Amarok born of a commercial vehicle partnership between the two brands is coming later this year.
So, what happened to the Volkswagen engine in the Amarok V6? After all, majority of Amarok models sold in Australia already feature a V6, and it remains the most powerful diesel dual-cab ute on the market in 2022.
We sat down with Ford T6 chief engineer Ian Foston at a recent Ranger Raptor prototype event to get a better understanding of how the Blue Oval and Volkswagen agreed to use a Ford V6 in the Ranger, Everest, and Amarok.
“Originally, the two companies spoke very high level with the families and they talked about doing a collaboration, a partnership on commercial vehicle stuff,” Mr Foston told CarExpert.
“And then from that, really, we got contacted by the Volkswagen team, and this was probably now when we were about a year into the development of the [new Ranger] platform at that stage.”
“They came to us and said look, we really appreciate what the current Ranger is in terms of its capabilities, very much more aligned to their vision of what they would like their product to be.”
“So of course, it took a while for us to sign all the nondisclosure agreements, get some of the early partnership understandings, and then we kind of shared what we were doing. Pretty much what they wanted was very much compatible with what we were doing, so it was a happy days.”
“They were extremely pleased with the kind of selection of powertrains and what we were doing to the chassis. But also they were very clear they wanted a fully differentiated product. They didn’t want just to have a badge diversion,” he explained.
“It’s going to be a proper, proper Volkswagen with all the DNA, all the touch points that the customer you know, feel sees, and experiences were going to be things that would be in a partner Volkswagen family,” he said.
So what happened when they landed on the discussion about powertrains and the V6 diesel engine?
“We already had a clear view of where we wanted to go and it’s the right sizing for this major platform change, which could last out for another decade,” Mr Foston said.
“We were really conscious of well, what do we want to do? Electrification was a key part of that. But also having gasoline and diesel in a larger capacity for people who wanted it for towing and for the performance stuff was something which we’d already made our decisions on,” he explained.
The added complication of using a Volkswagen engine was that it needed to work with the 10-speed automatic Ford transmission, which shared common across other Ranger and Everest variants. Using another engine and gearbox then creates headaches down the track for maintaining an additional parts catalogue.
While the Volkswagen engine has been ruled out, Mr Foston was adamant that the Amarok will have a unique Volkswagen look and feel to suitably differentiate it from the Ranger.