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VW's Hilux adversary to run amok

2009-06-05 07:20
The Toyota Hilux’s biggest nightmare now has a name, as VW christened its first bakkie Amarok.

VW’s first bakkie was named Robust after débuting at last year’s 62nd IAA Commercial Vehicles Show in Hanover, Germany. Since then VW has been very coy with regards to specifications, admitting the Robust name was simply a temporary arrangement.

The company confirmed yesterday, it had again drawn inspiration from one of the world’s most ancient people – the Inuit of Northern Canada and Greenland – to name a new product, much as the Touareg name was taken from Africa’s nomadic Sahara tribes.

Amarok translates from Inuit as "wolf," which is admittedly a pretty cool name for a marauding bakkie.

VW says Amarok also means "he loves stones," in the languages spoken around South America - allegedly.

We suspect VW’s marketing department found some obscure tribal dialect to translate from, as Amarok doesn’t translate as anything from the continent's primary languages – Portuguese and Spanish.

Technical details are very sketchy at the moment, yet we suspect the bakkie will have a similar set-up to local competitors, with a ladder frame suspended by independent suspension on the front axle, and a leaf-spring set-up at the rear.

Amarok will not go on sale in the North American market, which means the bakkie should display decent handling dynamics, tailored of for a European customer profile.

Launch configuration will be double-cab four-wheel drive, with a single cab fleshing out the range later.

VW’s new generation common-rail diesel engines will provide Amarok with power, and 8l/100km average consumption has been the primary design aim. Stated plainly - don’t expect detuned Touareg engines.

Factoring in VW’s presentation at last month’s engine symposium in Vienna – where new 1.2l TSI and 1.6l TDI engines were all VW powerpointed on about – Amarok could be powered by a surprisingly small capacity engine…

Amarok will go on sale locally after its South American debut early next year.

VW’s first bakkie will be produced at the company’s Pacheco plant near Buenos Aires. Argentina’s similarity in weather and terrain to local South African conditions should ensure Amarok is a formidable Hilux competitor when it arrives.

Local owners of those legendary double-cab Kombis must be ecstatic at the prospect of a long overdue replacement...


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