This article was first published at MotoringNZ.com.
A grunty V6 engine married to a sophisticated full-time all-wheel-drive system – indication that elements keeping the current Volkswagen Amarok in high regard here will be adopted by the next-gen Ford Ranger is ‘Christmas come early’ news for Volkswagen Commercial’s New Zealand boss Kevin Richards.
With Ford’s T6.2 ute also being the foundation for a new Amarok to be revealed at some point next year, the news that a 3.0-litre V6 running through an essentially permanent four-wheel-drive system is just what Richards wanted to hear, given the enduring popularity of the current Amarok in just that new-to-Ford configuration.
“Seeing the Ranger is hugely exciting for us … we’re highly confident it gives us a great springboard to move Amarok forward,” Richards said.
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“The teasers they (Ford) have given about the spec enforce why you partner with the market leader.”
He says the information shared so far enforces the prudence of VW forming an allegiance with Ford.
The powertrain news in particular should assuage any concern the German brand’s customers might have had about Amarok’s spirit being in any way diluted by that arrangement.
V6 Amarok in current form continues to be a huge hit – the big engine has simply revitalised the oldest contender in the one-tonne sector – and he sees the replacement doing just as well.
Take a peek behind the scenes of the Amarok W580’s development.
“Having the possibility of a V6 as part of the (Amarok) line-up is massive for us – we have a dedicated customer base for exactly that type of engine.
“We’ve found that people who go into V6s just don’t really want to come out of them … so (this news) gives us real opportunity.”
Regardless of how much Ford hardware is taken by VW, there will be no issue distinguishing one model line from the other, Richards says.
“I cannot go into too much detail, but I can say that VW has been involved from the start and, in terms of that development, it definitely has VW DNA, regardless that it is effectively on a Ford platform.
“It will be very distinctive, not only from the outside, but I think there will also be differences in the way they drive.”
Current Amarok will likely still be in the market when the new Ford becomes available to Kiwis – potentially around June – but that’s not going to be a problem, Richards believes.
Demand for the current V6 is so strong the order bank is already now well into 2022. He has not discounted potential that his model might yet be subject to a special treatment leading into its market departure.