It’s official: Next VW Amarok to be built in South Africa, by Ford
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Johannesburg - While it’s common knowledge that the Volkswagen Amarok’s replacement is going to be based on the next-generation Ford Ranger, we now have official confirmation that the vehicles will be built alongside each other right here in South Africa.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles confirmed in a statement that the Amarok successor will be built at Ford’s Silverton plant in Gauteng from 2022. This tie-up is one of numerous product alliances that Ford and VW have agreed to recently. And while they are set to share common underpinnings and a factory, this doesn’t mean that the Amarok is going to be a badge-engineered carbon copy of the Ranger, as VWCV board chairman Thomas Sedran points out:
“What is important for both partners is the utilisation of the same platform. At the same time we will both be able to fully deploy our strengths. Through custom designs and interfaces we will clearly differentiate the two models.”
In fact, were it not for the cooperation, and the development cost savings incurred, Volkswagen would not have even developed a new Amarok. The main markets for the new bakkies will be Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Interestingly VW has not mentioned any other production location for the new Amarok, which is surely good news for SA from an export perspective.
Little else is known about the next-generation Amarok at this stage, although the teaser sketch above does give us a fair idea of how it will look, at least if you tone down those wheels and their bulging arches.
The Amarok-Ranger tie-up is one of three joint projects that the two have announced, with Ford also set to lead the one-tonne van series that will spawn replacements for the Transporter and Transit. Volkswagen, in turn, will donate the new Caddy’s underpinnings for the compact van project that will spawn the next Ford Transit Connect. The latter vehicles will be built in Poland from later this year.
Interestingly, Volkswagen says that the successors for the passenger versions of the current 6.1 model range, such as the Caravelle and California, will remain VW-developed products. Perhaps VW will be shifting them to its MQB car platform?
“The partnership with Ford is designed for the long term and the contracts that have now been signed are for me the proof that we are successfully implementing our plan step by step,” Sedran said.
While Ford will be leading most of the commercial vehicle projects, it will in turn benefit from the use of Volkswagen’s MEB electric car platform, starting with a new electric vehicle for Europe from 2023. The two companies will also collaborate on self-driving technology through a recent investment in Argo AI.