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No auto for VW Amarok single-cab

DIY: Drivers of Volkswagen’s workhorse single-cab Amarok will have to work even harder as no auto is likely to become available.

Eight-speed auto unlikely for Volkswagen’s Amarok two-door ute any time soon

12 Jul 2012

AN automatic transmission option is unlikely to be offered for Volkswagen’s single-cab Amarok ute, which was launched in Australia this week alongside new auto variants of the dual-cab.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Australia national aftersales manager Phil West told GoAuto the eight-speed auto is not available on single-cabs from the factory.

“Even if it was, would we want to introduce it?” he said. “It’s a matter of profitability.”

On dual-cab Amaroks, the automatic is only available with a new 132kW/420Nm diesel engine and permanent 4x4, and as such commands a $3000 premium over the equivalent manual.

“The single-cab market is very price-driven and a lot of sales in the segment are for manuals,” said Mr West.

Of the Amarok’s mainstream rivals, only the Nissan D40 Navara and Mazda BT-50 are offered without automatic single-cab variants.

VW Commercial Vehicles Australia product manager Ben Wilks said the dual-cab Amarok has achieved a 4.2 per cent market share of Australia’s light truck segment to June this year, achieved mainly through sales of diesel manual variants.

The addition of the automatic transmission, single-cab workhorse variants and a cab-chassis option on the dual-cab will no doubt expand the vehicle’s appeal and reach in Australia.

Mr West told GoAuto that VW is pleased with the Amarok’s sales performance as a newcomer but conceded that, although customers are accepting the car well, it “takes a lot of education” because of its passenger vehicle-like dynamics, the level of technology and relatively small-capacity engines.

He said customer awareness is building as more Amaroks are seen out on the roads and through Britz vehicle rentals, which offers the VW ute kitted out for off-road camping holidays and towing caravans.

For the Australian market, VW co-developed an aluminium tray (priced at around $2000) for the single-cab that was designed, engineered and built in Australia, and which is under consideration for export.

Mr Wilks said VW Australia approached several overseas markets when researching the tray but found it to be an almost uniquely Australian requirement, with most markets sticking with the standard ute-style tray.

VW’s tray features tough nylon hinges that can take up to 800kg of load and can return to their original shape if deformed, with the clasps used to secure the tailgate and drop-sides also featuring the material.

The tray features internal load-lashing points, external rope rails and tail-light protectors, and the detachable ladder rack leaves no components intruding on the tray when removed.

Mr West told us VW Australia is considering developing more accessories, but said the well-established Australian aftermarket is “doing a very good job by itself” and has more experience in the field.

Some Australian aftermarket companies even shipped left-hand-drive Amaroks to Australia for accessory development before VW Australia had imported its first example for local evaluation.

Bull-bars will be left to the aftermarket as VW headquarters in Wolfsburg has issued an edict that there will be no official bull-bar for the Amarok, or any other accessories that could potentially interfere with its crash properties, pedestrian impact rating or other safety systems.

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