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Volkswagen Amarok 2020: Driver aids locked in

Volkswagen Commercial to roll out driver safety aids across all lines, but the Amarok will have to wait

Volkswagen’s commercial arm will roll out driver safety technology across its entire fleet over the next couple of years, but the Amarok ute will have to wait until its next iteration appears in a few years' time.

The company is staying mute on replacement plans for the eight-year old ute range, but the head of marketing and communications for Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Stefan Pfeiffer, told CarsGuide the company is planning to roll out driver aid tech across its whole fleet, Amarok included.

The recently released Crafter van is offered with AEB, rear cross-traffic alert, lane guidance and more.

“The current [Amarok], it's offering what it’s offering, but we are planning to put this [technology] in now,” he said.

“We started with the Crafter, and the next one will be the T, so the T6 will get all this, and the Caddy will be the next one. T is next year in Europe and next year also in the UK. I would say the beginning of 2020 most probably in Australia.”

While he declined to talk product specifics around the Amarok, Dr Pfeiffer pointed to the success of the 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel engine – derived from a powerplant built for the Porsche Cayenne – in markets like Australia and Europe, and indicated that it would remain in production for some time to come.

“We tried to follow the general philosophy to make engines smaller, but we said in the pick-up segments, it's not the right way and we shouldn't do that,” he said.

“In Europe they are only sold with Euro6-compliant V6 engines. This gave a big, big push to the Amarok in Europe, because Europe all together is like one of the pick-up markets of the southern hemisphere. In Germany we are selling 5000 Amaroks a year. That's nothing. It's a niche segment in Europe, that's for sure.”

Volkswagen has already sold more than 6000 Amaroks in Australia in 2018, and almost 10,000 found homes here in 2017.

Dr Pfeiffer also confirmed that, despite Volkswagen’s stated aim of selling 150,000 electric vehicles in 2020, the Amarok is unlikely to be on the list... at least in the short term.

“I would say Amarok would be the last one to be electrified,” he said. “We start with the vans, and we start with cars that are dedicated for city commercial purposes in the city, and the Amarok usually is the opposite.

“It's a car made for the countryside, and that's a contradiction in a certain way. I'm pretty sure one day, for all models, that we will have electrification available. But I think for the pick-ups or the countryside vehicles this will take some time.”

However, he did reveal that work on an all-electric Crafter is well advanced.

“We started the serious production for the electric Crafter already, and we work on the second generation of the e-Crafter and a different price level with much better performance,” he said. “In the next generation, it will definitely be an excellent vehicle for 80 per cent of our customers.

“We are going to offer hybrid versions, full electric versions, and we still continue to produce diesel versions, because, depending on the specific needs of each customer, it may not be applicable to use electric at all, and for others electric will be perfect.

When you're staying within the city boundaries, 60km per day, then [an] electric vehicle is the right choice. But when you are [travelling] overland, of course, you can forget about it.”

Where does safety tech rank on your ute buying checklist? Tell us what you think in the comments below.