News - Volkswagen
VW to launch all-new Amarok in 2022
Fresh details of Ford Ranger-based VW Amarok ute emerge, plus other plans under JV
11 Jun 2020
By TERRY MARTIN
VOLKSWAGEN and Ford have revealed that the next-generation, Australian-developed Ranger-based Amarok pick-up will be built in South Africa and launch in 2022, with the two models to be clearly differentiated by “custom designs and interfaces”.
The two auto giants announced overnight that the light-commercial vehicle alliance forged 18 months ago had entered the binding contractual stage and would initially encompass three key vehicle programs – Amarok/Ranger, a compact delivery van for Ford (based on the VW Caddy) and an all-new one-tonne van for both companies (developed by Ford) – as well as electric powertrains and autonomous driving systems.
As Ford ends its mid-size pick-up truck joint venture with Mazda (BT-50) and brings Amarok into the fold for the next generation, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles chairman of the board of management Thomas Sedran admitted this week that the Amarok would have been discontinued without the new partnership, which he added was designed for the long term.
“The collaboration with Ford is an important building block of our GRIP 2025+ strategy for the future and thus part of the transformation process that VW CV is currently going through,” he said.
“Over the coming years, the co-operation will strengthen our strong position in the area of light-commercial vehicles, especially in our core European markets.
“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.
“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.
“For us as Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, our sights with the Amarok successor are on our main markets, above all in the EMEA economic area (Europe, the Middle East and Africa).
“Ultimately it is our customers who will benefit, as without the co-operation we would not have developed a new Amarok.”
Ford’s Melbourne-based Asia-Pacific Product Development Centre is developing the new-generation Ranger that was confirmed overnight as entering production before the Amarok, which means it could be on sale in Australia late next year or early 2022.
Ranger is currently built for the Australian market in Thailand at two plants in the Rayong district: Ford Thailand Manufacturing (FTM), and the Auto Alliance Thailand (AAT) joint venture with Mazda.
Ford has confirmed to GoAuto that the next-generation Ranger and derivatives will continue to be built across both the FTM and AAT facilities, while Mazda has committed to at least continuing passenger car and SUV production at AAT as it partners with Isuzu (D-Max) for the sourcing of the next BT-50.
The option of building Amarok out of one of Ford’s Thai facilities remains on the table.
Both Ranger and BT-50 are also currently built out of Ford’s Silverton plant in South Africa, which is this stage is the only plant confirmed for Amarok.
Meanwhile, the VW-developed urban delivery van for Ford will be based on the fifth-generation ‘Caddy 5’ that was unveiled in February and is set to enter production in Poland later this year.
Sold as the Transit Connect, the compact van will be produced alongside Caddy at the Poznan plant from 2021, making it the first vehicle produced under the new alliance.
VW said the one-tonne van program led by Ford would not serve as a replacement for existing model lines targeted at private buyers such as Multivan, although the Transporter could come under the new arrangement.
“The ‘1Ton’ project will provide an extra boost for Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles in the business customer sector, as it enables us to offer a strong product with a very good cost-benefit ratio,” Mr Sedran said.
“At the same time we are keeping the development, production and marketing of the successors to our current 6.1 model range for private use – that is, the Multivan, Caravelle and California – at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.
“You could say that we're bringing together the best of both worlds for our customers.”
Ford and VW said the three model programs would encompass production of up to eight million vehicles across the entire lifecycle.
Ford’s forthcoming electric vehicle for Europe will be based on VW’s dedicated MEB EV platform and enter production in 2023, with productions targets of “multiyear 600,000-plus units”. It will be designed and engineered by Ford at its European headquarters in Cologne, Germany.
Ford Motor Company chief operating officer Jim Farley said this program was separate to the forthcoming all-electric versions of the Transit van and F-150 pick-up truck that are well into development and will be launched inside the next two years.
It is also separate to its all-electric Mustang Mach-E, which will be introduced next year.
“Commercial vehicles are fundamental to Ford today and an area where we will accelerate and grow, and working with Volkswagen on these platforms will provide both of us significant financial advantages in things like engineering, and plants and tooling,” Mr Farley said.
The autonomous driving technology developments will draw from Volkswagen’s freshly inked $US2.6 billion ($A3.75b) investment in Argo AI, a US-based autonomous vehicle start-up in which Ford already has ownership and R&D interests.
“In 2022, we will be deploying a self-driving vehicle fleet in real conditions for the first time,” Mr Sedran said. “This test will be the first Level 4 deployment using our fully electric ID Buzz vehicles. We’ll be collaborating closely on this with Argo.
“In addition, I’m sure that Argo is going to take a leading role in the development of self-driving systems in the entire industry, from which Ford and we will benefit greatly.”
The Road to Recovery podcast series
18th of March 2020
Volkswagen gives first glimpse of new-gen Amarok
All-new Volkswagen Amarok pick-up sketch provides first look at new ute design
13th of February 2019
Ford alliance great for Australia: Volkswagen
Volkswagen/Ford light-commercial-vehicle collaboration “a big win” for Australia
Click to share
Motor industry news