By on December 16, 2009

Amarok you like a hurricane
The Argentinian-produced Volkswagen Amarok pickup might be coming to the US if VW thinks it can sell enough of them. VW of America’s Stephan Jacoby tells “we’d have to sell at least 100,000 Amarok pickups to make it feasible.” But don’t get too excited: the only compact pickup to sell in those numbers is the Toyota Tacoma, which sold 102,327 units year-to-date.

On the other hand, the compact pickup segment is woefully short on modern offerings, and the sales difference between the relatively modern Taco and its next-closest competitor, the aged Ford Ranger (51,097 units ytd) indicates that updated offerings could unlock serious sales potential in the segment. But VW has bigger fish to fry, what with it’s million-unit ambitions and US plant coming online. Jacoby hedges:

The compact pickup segment is declining. Consumers are going to big pickups, which is a very traditional conservative segment. A lot of our competitors have burned their fingers in it as late entries. Before we could bring [the Amarok] here we’d have to do a lot of homework. But we have other vehicles to bring into this market first. Once we do that, we can talk about the Amarok.

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36 Comments on “VW To Bring Amarok Pickup To America If We Promise To Buy 100k Units...”

  • avatar

    And Mahindra seems to be arriving any day now…

  • avatar

    Bed is just too small. Ridgeline is minimum practical length and it is ushing it. If you can’t haul a couple of dirtbikes..forgetaboutit.

  • avatar

    Yes, get rid of the back seat and make the bed longer!


  • avatar

    Nice looking truck, and maybe even a very capable one. Unfortunately, VW has zero truck bona fides in the US market, thus the VW guy’s reticence.

    On the other hand, the US compact pickup market has always been receptive to non-US makes. So, if the VW truck is good it might stand a chance, especially if VW offers it with its excellent TDI motor. Now there’s a potential segment buster…

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    “The compact pickup segment is declining. Consumers are going to big pickups, which is a very traditional conservative segment”

    When gas spiked in the summer of 2008 Ford extended the closing date of it St. Paul plant where the compact Ranger PU is assembled due to an increase in sales. So don’t count the compact PU market out yet. Unlike the fullsize market, non of the domestics build anything worth buying which is why the Tacoma rules.  With VW’s  reputation for poor reliability who would be willing to pass over a Tacoma, the gold standard of small trucks,  and plunk down money on a Amarok?  Good looking little truck nontheless.

  • avatar

    This sounds like more typical VW stupidity to me.
    The small pickup market is shrinking? Big pickups is where its at?
    Oy, somebody buy Jacoby a clue for $500, Alex!
    The reason we have so few sales is honestly, we have so few prospects. The Dakota is also woefully overpriced and too close to Ram territory… and ancient.  
    The Ranger is just ancient….
    The Colorado/Canyon twins are also rans that didn’t deliver on an upgrade from the S-10 twins.
    The Frontier/ Tacoma seem to do just fine, but getting bigger and bigger and bigger….
    What VW can do is carve its own niche out a la Ford Transit Connect. Try and beat Mahindra at their game and see if you can bring over an affordable tough small diesel pickup. Make sure though that its just not a German Ridgeline.
    It could work if production is in the southern hemisphere on this side of the world with costs. I do think they have a market waiting.  Just look at the success the Transit Connect is achieving.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    “So, if the VW truck is good it might stand a chance, especially if VW offers it with its excellent TDI motor. Now there’s a potential segment buster…”

    Doesn’t that motor have a $1600 timing belt service interval at  60 or 70K? No thanks!

    • 0 avatar

      The old TDI’s timing belt interval was 90,000 miles. Newer ones are (I think) around 100,000 miles. I do all my own maintenance, and inspecting the belt is very easy. I was able to keep mine to 120,000 miles. I chose to have mine done by a pro as the special tools required cost as much as the procedure… which was about $500. That’s a far cry from $1600!

      VW Dealers charge around $1200 when I last checked. But I wouldn’t have a dealer service department come anywhere near my car unless it was a warranty item or a recall. Those guys are used as the illustration for “rapacious” in the dictionary.

      When you’re comparing VWs with Toyotas, at least the VW’s floormats never killed anybody yet. Those clever Germans designed them to fasten to the floor!

    • 0 avatar

      The early TDIs were rated at 60000 miles for the belt interval. However, in 2003 the interval was changed to 100000 miles, and all the 100000 mile parts will work on the older cars.
      For a while VW dealers were still installing 60000 mile parts even though better parts were available. So if you have a TDI in the U.S., don’t take it to a dealer for a timing belt. Or anything else really, unless you don’t mind being bent over without any lube. There are a number of TDI gurus throughout the U.S. that will do the job properly, which includes replacing all the parts in the timing belt path. Dealers typically replace the bare minimum. A guru will do it for about $600 to $700 including all the parts and labour. As Chuck says, dealers will charge in the $1200 range for the same thing. You can also buy the tools for about $300 or even rent them online to do it yourself.

      It would be great if they’d bring this truck over, but I think they’d need to offer it with the 3.0 litre TDI as an option. The 2.0 litre engine might be “too small” for some people.

    • 0 avatar

      VW makes its cars very difficult to service and the dealers charge astronomical prices for parts and service. On top of this quality and customer service are very inconsistent. Good luck to VW trying to sell 1 million vehicles per year in the U.S. My prediction is that ten years from now VW will still be a niche brand and will still be selling 200K to 250K units per year.

  • avatar

    I’d buy one.

  • avatar

    Fact of the matter is, if they market it correctly and advertise the hell out of it … my grandmother will buy it. 

  • avatar

    Is there any vehicle VW sells in the U.S. that is 100k/yr?

  • avatar

    I’d be worried about VW customer support if there were a problem. View my VW experience at:

  • avatar

    If it has a diesel, this would definitely be at the top of my list when it’s time to replace my Jeep.  Please VW… give it a shot!

  • avatar

    Until VW can get the 2.0tdi into larger vehicles without urea (like Passat or even Tiguan), I can’t see this really offering anything to the marketplace.

    My many years of experience with VWs includes things like finicky maintenance and flimsy (though pretty) interiors…two things the truck market doesn’t have much tolerance for.

  • avatar

    they can keep it. but give us the new microbus. with a manual clutch

    • 0 avatar

      As much as I do like the Microbus concept.. that debuted so long ago.. Jesus first saw the concept shots…

      I doubt it will ever make it to the road.

      And as for a clutch.. with a VAN?

      Thats like asking for Honda to stop pushing its joke (the Crosstour) and resell the 4th gen Accord wagons to anyone who wants them.. replete with clutches.

      As Pete always says..

  • avatar
    also Tom

    Somebody tell Jacoby that compact trucks don’t sell in this country because there aren’t any-they’ve all become mid-size trucks and are now priced within a couple thousand of full sized trucks and so……they don’t sell many of those either.  Priced a decently optioned Tacoma lately????

  • avatar

    Selling 100K of those would represent a 50% increase in sales for VW AS A COMPANY in the US.  Saying you need that kind of sales to bring something over is just another way of saying “forget it”.
    Now 100,000 units is about 1 shift’s worth of yearly production on one line (factories vary, but it’s a decent “ballpark” figure).  That may be where he was pulling those numbers from, production “facts” rather than the ugly truth of sales.

  • avatar

    I wanted a truck a while back but finally moved over to SUVs once I realized how hard it would be to find a fuel-efficient crew cab truck. Nevertheless, I still like trucks, and I like the Amarok the most of the little trucks I’ve yet seen.

    Would I buy one? If it got 19/25 mpg in a crew-cab format (that’s 21 mpg total on the EPA cycle), got decent safety ratings and could tow 3000 pounds, hell yes I would probably buy one (small SUVs have turned into a girl’s car, no offense, if I wanted a lifted station wagon I would get a Forester). But I’m not sure if VW could offer me that anymore.

    We keep on saying “Bring over the Ranger, it’s still compact” or “Let’s bring over the Hilux” but these vehicles are now too big to be compact, and the Amarok is the same way. If it came over with a big honking V6, big dimensions, and 17 mpg, no, it would just be another awful midsize like the Tacoma and Frontier.

    Why is it that the only way to get Jeep Cherokee dimensions is to get a leaky, soft-roader pretendo-ute Jeep Patriot? Why is the Ranger going to increase in size? Because most of the car-driving world no longer wants trucks, and those few people that do want recreational trucks are going to increasingly be forced into ever-growing, ever more inefficient trucks, because that’s what contractors and construction workers demand.

    Car people want more refinement and less off-roading CUVs, construction workers want bigger trucks, and those that want the middle-ground will not get either.
    I say NO to the Amarok. It won’t do what anybody wants it to do.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

     “Priced a decently optioned Tacoma lately????”

    Yep. This came up on another forum and it was determined that a Taco is about 5K cheaper than a similarly equipped fullsize Chevy. The Ranger is still a compact truck becasue they haven’t changed it in 1 5 years.

    “But I wouldn’t have a dealer service department come anywhere near my car unless it was a warranty item or a recall. Those guys are used as the illustration for “rapacious” in the dictionary.”

    I didn’t want to ask a friend today why she still hadn’t got her Bug back when I noticed the loaner in the driveway. It went in for a clutch job. That was 5 weeks ago.  It only had 130K on it. Meanwhile my 93′ Toyota truck that I sold to a friend almost 6 years ago has 300K on it and is still going with the original clutch and pretty much everything else.  I put 40K on it pulling heavy boats(3K plus) and loaded snowmobile trailers and another 160K nontowing  in the 11 years I owned it.  That’s the kind of vehicle VW needs to build if they want to make a dent in any niche of the truck market. Personally, I don’t think they have it in them. Floor mats alone won’t do it…LOL   

  • avatar

    Jacoby’s comments make it sound like they will not do this.  Setting a feasibility target of 100k sales doesn’t mean it is attainable.  Noting that the small truck market is declining appears to doom the idea.
    But it’s a nice-looking truck.  Too bad it would be under-quality and over-priced.

  • avatar

    The name would have to change as well.  There is a media player for Linux called Amarok.  It doesn’t sound very truck worthy IMHO.

  • avatar

    This sure seems to be a clone of the Ford Sport Trak. Isn’t Ford discontinuing that due to slow sales?

  • avatar

    There is a media player for Linux called Amarok
    It means “wolf” (or a particular kind of mythological wolf) in one of the Inuit languages.  It yet another Tough Truck Name (Tundra, Sierra, Silverado, Titan, etc).  The music player gets it’s name from the same.
    Personally, I always liked Mazda’s Bongo Friendee

  • avatar

    What ever happened to Volkswagen’s Advanced Activity Concept (AAC) and here ?

  • avatar

    Hilux/Tacoma is one of Toyota’s best sellers around the world. That was part of the motivation for VW’s JV with them as the Taro. VW even made them in Germany for a time.
    I wonder if they asked if they could use the name again?

  • avatar

    Hot. Makes the Ridgelind look even uglier

  • avatar

    A few months back our local newspaper did a story on rusting tacoma frames, right before the recall was issued.
    The frames on 2 trucks snapped in half in one day, when they were put on the lift at the local toyota dealer for an oil change.
    Mechanical parts can be replaced if they fail, but when the frame starts going the only thing left for the truck is the scrap heap.

  • avatar

    Chicken tax (google it). A 25% tax on each of these unless Vw opens a plant in the USA. Break even point on that would most likely be 100k units a year.

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