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Volkswagen Amarok 2018 V6 ups towing capacity to 3.5 tonnes

Limited to 500 units, the Amarok V6 Dark Label arrives in April and will sit between the Highline and the Ultimate in the range.

Volkswagen Australia announced this week that the braked towing capacity of its flagship Amarok V6 dual-cab ute range has increased from 3000kg to 3500kg.

Alongside a rise in gross vehicle mass (GVM) from 5550kg to 6000kg, the improved tow rating was reached via modifications to the Amarok V6's rear bar, allowing it to match rivals including the Toyota HiLux, Ford Ranger and Isuzu D-Max.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles national marketing manager Nick Reid said the uptick in towing capacity would put the Amarok V6 further up the list of potential buyers.

“It also means that we’re above the Mitsubishi Triton which is 3.1 tonnes and the Toyota HiLux SR5 which is 3200kg,” he said at the Bathurst 12 Hour last weekend, adding that customers should be aware of their vehicle's gross vehicle mass.

“People who are actually towing 3500kg are usually pretty aware of what they’re towing. The best selling caravan from Jayco, for example, is 2.5 tonnes.”

Mr Reid revealed that Amarok V6 customers had started asking about a higher towing capacity for the 165kW/550Nm bent-six pick-up.

“Now that we’ve got that really powerful engine, it’s caught the attention of towers who are looking for an alternative to what they were driving previously and looking to the ute segment for towing,” he said.

These aforementioned changes do not extend to four-cylinder Amarok variants which keep their 3000kg tow rating.

The Amarok V6 line-up currently consists of the Sportline, Highline and Ultimate grades, but Volkswagen Australia continues to deliberate with head office over the availability of a range-opening Core variant that has been mooted since 2016.

“We are in negotiations with the factory at the moment about how we push down with the range to create a more tradie-focused version,” Mr Reid said, acknowledging that it had been up for debate for a long period of time.

“We have been working on it for a while,” he said. “The Australian market is unique in that it’s a capacity-driven market (for Amarok), so we’re aligning with other markets that aren’t as capacity-driven. Looking at the UK, they were apprehensive about the V6, but it’s been extremely popular there, and exceeded their expectations by a long shot.

“The acceptance of the V6 model is growing, and that will help our case.”

However, Mr Reid indicated that the Amarok V6's sales performance in the UK is advantageous when it comes to these discussions.

He also confirmed that the German carmaker is set to release a performance-orientated model to take on the incoming Ford Ranger Raptor, HSV Colorado SportsCat and Mercedes-Benz X350d.

Mr Reid said the Wolfsburg badge – used on the Golf R, among others – is “definitely” under consideration for the Amarok V6, with more details to come soon.

“We’re also looking at how we maintain our power leadership in the segment that we have at the moment. We have no intention of giving that up,” he said.

“Not everyone uses (pick-ups) for off-road or commercial work. We can even look at the uptake of the 20-inch wheel version on the Ultimate to show that people aren’t looking to go four-wheel-driving. They’re looking at more sporty, on-road features.”

“We’ve always offered special-edition models like the Canyon, the Dark Label and the Atacama. We’ve got a Dark Label coming soon, which is a new take on the Dark Label and looks really sharp and unique, and we’re looking at how we can take that further over the mid- and long term.”

Limited to 500 units, the new Dark Label arrives in April and will sit between the Highline and the Ultimate specification-wise, with 'Vienna' leather upholstery, heated front seats, matte-black sports bar and side steps, black wheelarch flares, anthracite 18-inch alloy wheels and black interior trim its key highlights.

The next-generation Amarok is still at least two to three years away, but Mr Reid confessed that safety and driver-assist technology upgrades are being planned.

“If you look at the noise in the segment at the moment, with Mercedes-Benz entering the market and other European brands all getting in, it’s something we’re looking at,” he added. “If you want to sell volume, you have to be in that segment.”

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