The single-cab workhorse is undergoing final testing in Germany before it is approved to follow the dual-cab Amarok into action, in Australia next year.
The crew-cab version of the new one-tonne German ute is already closing on showrooms and Volkswagen Australia confirms it will introduce the car to the public at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney in October. Built in Argentia, the Amarok is already on sale in South America, and will go on sale in South Africa this October, with Volkswagen South Africa launching the single-cab model in April.
Volkswagen Australia was planning to have the Amarok on sale late this year, but now admits there is a chance the popularity of the ute in South America could see the Australian launch pushed back.
"We are waiting on confirmation on our production, but currently the demand for Amarok in South America is delaying the launch for most markets. We also want to make sure we have adequate stock before we launch to avoid long waiting lists," says Volkswagen Australia spokesman, Karl Gehling.
Hailed as Volkswagen’s Hilux-buster, the Amarok will be at a crucial disadvantage when it goes on sale in Australia as it will be without an automatic transmission, which means it will be dismissed by a large group of Australian ute buyers.
Work is underway on a self-shifter, most likely with Volkswagen's double-clutch manumatic gearbox, but Volkswagen Australia is unable to confirm when the self-shifting gearbox will be available or if it will be a regular torque convertor type automatic or a dual-clutch automatic.
The Amarok will be introduced with diesel engines in Australia, but a petrol engine will be added to the range next year. Volkswagen sources have told Carsguide this will be a four-cylinder turbocharged engine producing 118kW and 300Nm.
The petrol engine is being given a high priority as it will be popular in many South American countries and especially Brazil, where it is likely to be adapted to run on that country’s E85 ethanol fuel.
Volkswagen Australia is still some time away from confirming pricing for the Amarok, but says prices will be similar to its key rivals.
"It was benchmarked against the Toyota Hilux, Nissan Navara and Mitsubishi Triton and it will be competitive with those three vehicles," Gehling says.
The Amarok is available as a rear-drive only model as well as a constant all-wheel-drive and a rear-drive model with a locking centre differential and low range transmission turning it into a go-anywhere four-wheel-drive. Volkswagen will also make available a locking rear differential for enhanced off-road capability.
Volkswagen Australia says it is not ready to reveal if it will take all three of these drivetrain options although there is a chance one of them may not make it. The company is also not ready to confirm specification levels, including what safety equipment it will fit.
The Amarok is available with electronic stability control and it is likely that Volkswagen will fit this crucial safety feature as standard fitment. Not only would this give the company a competitive advantage in the segment but also fit in with its wider safety policy that has seen it fit ESC wherever possible, including to its T5 Transporter van range.
Diesel manual versions of the Amarok will have a towing capacity of 2800kg.