Trucks

Will the Volkswagen Amarok Ever Be Available in the U.S.?

The recent alliance between the Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen has created speculation about what it means for the production of current models produced by each automaker. Chiefly, it’s the anticipation of the Amarok’s availability in the United States.

While the partnership mostly involves the respective automakers’ collaborative efforts in manufacturing “commercial vehicles and international versions of the Ranger,” discussions beyond the immediate plans are mainly conceptual and centered on the production of electric vehicles. Still, people are wondering if this will be the first step to making the Amarok available in the United States.

A Volkswagen Amarok on display at an auto show.
The Volkswagen Amarok | Miguel Villagran/Getty Images

The Volkswagen Amarok

With its sharp looks and brawny power, the Amarok remains a staple throughout Europe and other parts of the world.  

Specs

The spirited turbocharged direct injection (TDI) V6 engine is available in 161, 201, and 268hp options. With a ceiling of 4,750 RPMs, it only requires 1,400 to achieve 428 lb-ft of torque. That’s more than enough to carry up to 2,452 pounds and tow up to 6,834 pounds.

While singing the praises of VW’s diesel engine post-emissions debacle may feel as unfashionable as sitting on the opposing side’s bleachers during a home game, it’s a solid design, nonetheless. Reaching 0 to 62mph in 7.4 seconds is seamlessly achieved with the standard eight-speed automatic transmission. Using the gear lever changes the driveline to a manual.

With the exception of the Highline, all Amaroks are equipped with all-wheel drive and an “electronically lockable rear differential.” The Highline’s all-wheel drive configuration features a Torsen-center differential that provides quick wheel response and improved traction on slippery surfaces.

Features

Standard features on the Amarok include VW’s proprietary Climatronic air conditioning system, which allows you to preset temperature, air distribution, and fan speed. You’ll also find the manufacturer’s Composition Media Radio complete with a 6.33-inch touch screen and App-Connect.

VW’s adaptive cruise control system allows you to maintain a set speed and distance from vehicles in front of you. The 17-inch Posadas alloy wheels enhance the exterior appeal.

Chances for future availability of the Amarok in the U.S.

The recent partnership between Ford and Volkswagen signals a positive financial direction for both automakers. While the collaboration does not involve either company investing in the other, it does indicate that both will benefit from the other’s technology on current vehicle designs.

It also means that each company will share in the investment of emerging Argo AI, a self-driving vehicle technology company. Unfortunately, the agreement makes no specific mention of producing the Amarok for the United States.

2022 release of the Ford Ranger and Volkswagen Amarok

The collaboration between the two automakers is set to produce an international version of the Ford Ranger and a new Volkswagen Amorak. It’s an opportunity to share existing platforms and jointly develop new ones. Sharing plant facilities also makes the partnership economically viable.

Set for release in 2022, the midsize pickup trucks will feature either the 3-liter diesel or the 2.7L EcoBoost six-cylinder engine currently powering the F-150. Volkswagen plans to incorporate the Ranger platform into the new Amarok design.

In the commercial vehicle department, Ford will assist Volkswagen in redefining the Ford Transit Bus and Transit Connect to fit under the VW umbrella and carry the brand names Transporter and Caddy.

Release of the Amarok in the U.S. not likely

Although much has been made about the Chicken Tax as the main reason behind Volkswagen’s difficulty in releasing the Amarok in the United States, it’s only one surmountable aspect. The 1963 U.S. bill was enacted as a response to the high tariffs France and Germany imposed on American chicken imports to their respective countries. The Chicken Tax levies a 25% tax on imports, such as light trucks.

The added tax would price the already expensive Amarok out of the competitive U.S. pickup truck market; however, there are already plans to expand the Chattanooga manufacturing plant.

Producing the vehicle stateside negates the tax issue, but with the exception of the Bug, Beetle, and bus, Americans haven’t really embraced the VW brand. The re-engineering required to adapt the Amarok to the U.S. standards is at the center of the transitional cost concerns.

Instead of releasing an American version of the Amarok, VW seems focused on the 2023 introduction of its SUV, the Atlas Tanoak, which does show promise in the American market.

Future collaborative benefits

Among the assets Volkswagen brings to the collaborative table is the sharing of its MEB electric vehicle platform. Ford is looking at improving its prospects in the European market with the shared design. Both automakers are poised to benefit from the burgeoning Argo AI project.