By on June 5, 2010

It’s out. Volkswagen’s best kept secret is out. At VW do Brasil’s website. The price for the mid-size (for Brazil) Volkswagen Amarok is out. It’s way out there. You can pre-order now. Ready? Take your checkbook out. Breathe deeply …

For a measly R$119,490.00, that’s right, for a pittance of US$66,383.33, the VW Amarok can be yours. In Brazil.

In return, you get a bi-turbo 2.0 diesel good for 163 costly ponies. A 6-speed manual gearbox. 4×4 traction. 2.52 square meters in the (truck) bed. There is Volkswagen’s alphabet soup, consisting of ABS (Anti Blocking System) , TCS (Traction Control System), EBC (Electronic Braking Control) , BAS (Brake Assistance System), EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution), ESP (Electronic Stability Program), EDL (Electronic Differential Limiter). There is an acronym-free (AFAIK) uphill start holder, along with a downhill controller.

Speaking to well-known Brazilian car magazine Auto Esporte, Volkswagen’s Wolfgang Schreiber said that such an endeavor was a first for VeeDub.  So they went to the land of pickups and built a test track for it in the USA. Naturally, the aforementioned mag asked whether they had benchmarked Ford’s Ranger, or Chevy’s S10 in the truck’s development.

Said Schreiber: “No, those models are below in quality to what we had in mind for the Amarok.” (Any heart attacks in Detroit are purely coincidental).

He went on to say that they did in fact view the Toyota Hilux as a worth opponent. As far as the interior goes, they went after the Nissan Frontier. In the process, Mr. Schreiber said they destroyed 10 Hilux(es).

For comparison, I looked up the prices of the closest possible versions of the Amarok’s competitors (all double cab turbo diesel versions) in Auto Esporte’s print version. Here’s what I found:

The Toyota Hilux starts at R$87.800 (US$48.777). Loaded to the gills, it goes for R$119.900 (US$66.611).

The Nissan Frontier begins at R$112.590 (US$62.550). Fully decked out, it would set you back by R$119.890 (US$66.605)

The Ford Ranger costs us Brazilians a modest R$80.570 (US$44.761). Or R$86.610 (US$48.117) with all the bells & whistles.

The Chevy S10 base model costs R$78.778 (US$43.766). Blinged-out, lofty R$100.436 (US$55.798) would be due.

Just to clarify, the VW Amarok is built at VW’s Pacheco (in Argentina) plant. So thanks to the Mercosur agreement, they pay no import tariff. That’s just the real price.

Ready to Amarok’n’Roll? Or do you think VW is off their Amaroker?

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28 Comments on “VW do Brasil Pricing Runs Amarok...”

  • avatar

    What is up with car prices in Brazil? The average wage in Brazil is considerably less than in the US, but cars seem to cost more than two or three times as much. Are taxes the only reason, or is something else going on?

    What type of new car can you buy in Brazil for around $20,000 USD ?

    • 0 avatar

      Maybe taxes are high in general or just for cars or luxury tax on certain models?

      coming from Germany I was pleasantly surprised of lower cost for cars in the US. but these Brazilian prices are higher than German prices. No wonder everyone is a drug lord down there, you need to be one just to be able to afford a commuter car (this is ironic, for the Politically Correctness people)

    • 0 avatar

      Hello Nullo Mundo,

      Besides the very high taxes, there are the very, very healthy margins car makers practice down here. And the aforementioned cars are trucks , so taxes for them are a bit lower. But margins for them, like in USA, are even higher.

      For 20K USD, or R$36000 you can get your choice of what (I’m considering you’re American) would consider subcompact cars. Like Fiat’s Uno, Palio, Siena (sedan) or trucklet Strada, VW old Gol, new Gol, Voyage (sedaN) or Saveiro (sedan); Ford Ka or Fiesta (sedan and hatch), GM Corsa (hatch and sedan), Celta, Prisma (sedan) or Montana (truck); Renault Logan (sedan) or Sandero (hatch); Peugeot 207 (just hatch) or Hoggar (truck). And you’d have a choice of 1.0, 1.4 and 1.6 engines, though to get these cars w/ A/c, power sterring and windows you’d probably have to forego some of the engines larger than 1.0.

      Other brands don’t deal in such paltry price ranges. Rhough I wager that up to 75% of the Brazilian market is sold up unto the 20000 dollar limit.

      Herr HerrKaLeun,

      Thanks for the kind words, as demonstrated your world view is a little skewed. Most drug trafficking in Brazil is for local consumption. And very little is actually grown here, there are no poppy fields or coke bushes to be found. Though we do kindly provide our neighbors with the chemicals needed to refine said drugs as they produce little or don’t produce any of the chemicals needed. A quick look at a map would also show you that whatever international traffic that goes on here is usually from abroad then inside then out and on to Africa and Europe. Not N. America. I’m not denying it’s a problem, but don’t confuse apples with oranges.

  • avatar

    For 66K, I think even GM or Ford could build a class leading mid-size pickup truck.

    • 0 avatar

      I’d would have to agree wholeheartedly, though unfortunately it does appear both Ranger and S10 are technically inferior to their Japanese and now German competition.

    • 0 avatar

      Marcelo, isn’t Ford bringing out a brand new redesigned Ranger for Brazil next year?

    • 0 avatar

      Hi the Luigiian.
      Redesigned it was already. Last year. Go here to see some pictures. Now as to when a totally new Ranger comes out it’s anybody’s guess. According to that Brazilian website, the future Brazilian Ranger might be based on the Thai model, and again, that Thai model is now currently based on the Mazda B from 2007.
      While the Ranger is still a good honest truck, it is long in the tooth, and should possibly be redone from scratch if it is to compete with the Hilux and now Amarok, which according to the press down here are head and shoulders above the rest. At least from the POV of a pick up as a car.

    • 0 avatar

      OK, yeah, I recognize that one. Same one they sell in Mexico. I think that’s a facelift from the U.S. version Ranger, right?

      Are you sure you guys won’t get the new T6 from Europe? I know Ford of America is killing our Ranger, which is very similar to the Ranger you show there if I’m not mistaken (which I may very well be). I guess you guys will keep the same architecture or switch to T6. I somehow doubt you’re going to end up with a Mexico-style Lobo…

    • 0 avatar

      That Ranger is a facelift of a facelift of a facelift and also built in Pacheco (Argentina), a few meters away from where the Amarok gets done. There are rumours a fully new design is coming 2011/2012.
      Price in Argentina is @40K USD… can’t understand the deal with the neighbors.

  • avatar

    Ranger was designed in the mid-’90’s and launched in 1998.

    I’ve not seen the sales numbers in Br, but in its home market, the US, it still sells at or near the top of its segment (even though it is a dead-model rolling.)

    • 0 avatar

      Is it ridiculous to suggest that trying to sell this in the US might make up in volume what VW would have to give up on price? If it’s as good as they say, why couldn’t it be a near 10k-monthly seller (if priced halfway competitively). Besides, VW has no full-size trucks to protect.
      Premium compact is all the rage for cars… why not trucks?

    • 0 avatar


      I’d refer you to your own chart showing compact CUV sales. In one of the hottest segments going, VW’s Tiguan, which is one of the newer models on the market, is in a fight for last place. If people won’t buy VW’s little SUV, why would they buy VW’s little truck?

    • 0 avatar

      Well I agree w/ Edward. The Tiguan is ugly, but this truck looks pretty good. Tough, but modern. Inside it’s pretty goo, too. Now, would the US buy a 2.0L bi turbo? Does VW have a competitive V6 for America? That’s where they’d run into trouble, I think.

      As to sales, news of last monht’s sales are still not available, but as to April:
      1 – Chevy S10 3,209
      2 – Toyota Hilux 2,608
      3 – Mitsubishi L200 1,655
      4 – Ford Ranger 1,129
      5 – Nissan Frontier 533
      6 – Ford-250 215

      And those are the only real competitors in this segment. The Koreans don’t have a pick up (except for the very odd SsangYong that sells in ridiculously low numbers), neither the Chinese. Now if I include the car based pickups it’s a whole other matter. I have the list from April of what are called light vehicles in Brazil (PUs, SUVs, CUVs, vans) and the Fiat Strada trucklet just owns the market. With sales of about 10 000 a month, it has a participation in its segment of 50%. Yes 50%. All other pickups, vans , SUVs sell as much as it does alone.

      BTW the VW Tiguan only sold 76 units in April.

    • 0 avatar

      Marcelo –

      While US buyers have been hesitant about diesels for passenger cars, they love them in trucks. In trucks where diesels are an option (primarily the biggest pickups you can get before you get into purely commercial market models) the diesel take rate is close to 80%.

      Also, is the F-250 something different in Brazil? In the USA it is an absolutely huge truck, the actual weight of a 2011 F-250 in the lightest form (XL 6.2 liter gas engine regular cab 2wd) is over 5600 lbs. If you go to the other extreme (Lariat 6.7 liter diesel engine crew cab 4×4) it is over 7300 lbs. Either way, it hardly seems in the same class as the other trucks you mention.

    • 0 avatar

      Hi NulloModo – I put the Ford 250 in their just because it’s a big pick up and the only one on the market and on a whim. Actually I should have included the Dodge Ram ’cause it’s also on sale here. GM gave up the ghost a long time ago when they retired the Silverado. It reigned supreme carrying on a long tradition of GM supremacy over Ford in this segment (considered the full-size pick-up segment), but when Ford launched the 250 it just killed the Silverado. Anyway, we get the F250 in both single and double cab forms. Plus there are a nember of commercial apllication where you get just the cabin and they added various tyoes of real work truck beds. As to engine Ford uses a Cummings diesel down here. It has 3.9L, is good for 203hp and 56 m.kgf. It also used to have a 4.2L V6, but I don’t really know if the gasoline version is still on sale. This car is just humongous in traffic. And is in high demand in the countryside. Any year (I think it’s been in production since at least 1999or a bit earlier) is well sold. Impediments to greater sales are price, insurance, impossibility to park it in most garages. But I love it. Especially the single cab v6. In the earlier designs w/out so much chrome in front. I almost wish I had a farm just to justify owning one.

    • 0 avatar

      And NullModo remeber the Amarok is about the size of a Ranger. In this category of pick-up Amricans prefer gasoline, don’t they?

    • 0 avatar

      Marcelo –

      It’s not quite fair to say that Americans prefer gas for their small trucks, gas is just the only option. No one currently offers a small truck with a diesel in the US market. Mahindra is supposed to release a Ranger/Colorado/Frontier/Tacoma cometitor with a diesel, but they have been promising for years and have yet to deliver. While I understand in Europe diesels are considered the economical option, in the US diesels are associated with having big hairy huebos, they are the man’s man choice of engines, so I think a diesel compact pickup would be a big seller if someone offered it for the right price.

      It’s interesting that you can get a F-250 with the 4.2 liter V6 down there, that used to be the base engine in the F-150 here, but it was axed in 2009 in favor of the 4.6 liter V8 that gets the same gas mileage, but produces more power. For years here the smallest engine you could get in the F-250 was the 5.4 liter V8, and with the new 2011 models, the smallest is the 6.2 liter V8.

    • 0 avatar

      NulloModo – Thanks for all the info! And I had forgotten all about the Mahindra. You see, supposedly they are on sale here, but I have yet to see one. When I mentioned that list of light vehicles, it shows the top 50 sellers (in the category) and the the Tiguan is in 50th place. So if the Mahindra is selling at all it’s selling below the Tiguan’s 76. Though I do recall my father saying he’d seen one in São Paulo city.

    • 0 avatar

      @Edward Niedermeyer

      Volkswagen of America studied bringing the Amarok to the US but found that in order to sell enough units to make a profit, the Amarok would have to instantly become the second best selling truck in its segment (behind the Ranger and above the Tacoma) despite costing significantly more.

      The same kind of cost/benefit analysis put the kaibosh on the Scirocco in the US. I’ve got to give VWoA credit for making sound business decisions based on analysis rather than the usual auto industry ego/brainless/fixed-cost driven decision making matrices of failure they seem to use.

  • avatar

    That Price is for the Highline Version only. Which means it is the almost fully loaded version (I don’t speak portugese, but the configurator shows one option only). IIRC the Amarok is supposed to be available in two lower trims as well – so it seems like the prices will be quite comparable to those that VWN wants to be compared to, namely the Hilux, Nissan and Mitsubishi…

    @Edward: As long as the Chicken Tax is still there, I wouldn’t wait for this. Building it in the US will not be worth it (not even CKD) with the volumes it might get (remember that hardly any manufacturer offers their ROW-Trucks in the US). And 25% on top just won’t sell…

  • avatar

    That price is insane. Here in Chile they just introduced it: five equipment levels, all with the same 2.0 liter turbodiesel engine.
    Goes from about US$22.000 for the “Power” equipment level (ABS, ABS Off Road (?), tilt and telescoping steering wheel, manual everything and 2-speaker radio, not even airbags) all the way to US$34.000 for the “Highline” version, with 4×4, electric everything, cruise control, 4 power outlets, premium stereo with 6 speakers, 2 zone climate control, chromed mirrors, leather wrapped steering wheel and 17″ wheels.
    Someone’s reaaaaally screwing up with the brazilians.

    • 0 avatar

      Seems about “right”. You pay USD34 000 and we USD 66 000. It’s because we’re so rich we love paying for all the comforts of our very beloved leaders need and deserve. Remember, they are a light into a dark world and are teaching others how to do foreign politics w/ love instead of guns. They really do deserve it, don’t they?

  • avatar
    Carlos Villalobos

    Dear Marcelo:
    I’ve always complained about the higher prices we have here in Chile compared to the States for similar models, but man, I feel sorry for you. US$ 66.000 for a pick up truck?
    Wow and that is a Mercosur product.

  • avatar

    Nissan Navara, Toyota Hilux and Mitsubishi L200 dominate the european market. Isuzu Rodeo (D-Max), Ford Ranger and Mazda BT-50 are also strong competitors.

    None of those sells for more than 30,000 euros fully loaded.
    In Greece, you can get the Ranger with the 3.0l engine for about 25,000 – with all the optional equipment included. The Mahindra, by the way, was launched here a couple of weeks ago. Prices range from 15,900 to 21,900. They said they mangaged to sell 2,000 units last year in Europe and talked all the time about USA. The delays have to do with the fact that they want to (they said) get everything right from the start. Before year’s end the entire dealer network should be functional we were told.

    The vehicle is the best I have tried from an Indian/Chinese manufacturer. The main problem is that it is going to compete with established products that sell at about the same prices, except perhaps the fully loaded double cab 4×4.

  • avatar

    Geez! $65K+ for a pickup truck??? What a crack pipe!

  • avatar

    from the Amarok commercial: “…Elephants don’t care if you are rich or poor…”

    I am sure the VW dealers will agree to disagree with Mr. Elephant.

    • 0 avatar

      When I heard that line I thought, “what hypocrites”. I don’t like the commercial. It’s at best misguided and at worst hypocritical. Though I bet it’s a worldwide (or VW world wide) campaign. So in some countries it’d go for “poor” people. Not the case down here as you well know.

  • avatar

    The problems with brazilian car prices are two: taxes and profits. The difference between our country and most developed countries is that, in Europe, they mostly tax income. Here, we tax goods and labour. 40% of the Amarok’s price is made of taxes. Federal, State, even city taxes. Taxes on the car itself, on the parts, on the “selling” act. Labour also makes a difference. If a worker makes (hypothetically) U$ 20 an hour, the cost of that worker for the company is U$ 40 an hour. There’s social security; 13th salary (all workers year receive a month worth of salary at the end of the year); vacations (all workers must take a month off for vacation, in which they are paid as if they actually worked the whole month, AND with a 30% bonus); etc etc. When you consider all facts, the cost of the car is IN PART justified. Last year Ford’s brazilian subsidiary sold a small fraction of what they sell in the US and sent hundreds of millions of dollars to the headquarters. Yes, the cost to build, import, and sell a car in Brazil is pretty high, but profit margins are much higher than Europe’s or US’. That’s why all the major manufacturers are installed here. If competition is going to drive prices down one day, and force the major players to bring updated, new cars, instead of 4 year-old Focuses and 12 year-old Golfs, who knows. One can dream.

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