The Amarok is the first newly developed commercial vehicle from Germany to be built in Pacheco. The vehicle will be exported all over the world from its base in Argentina as part of the growth strategy pursued by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. With the Amarok, the brand is moving into a new segment and further international markets. From the workhorse to the lifestyle pickup – the equipment variants are designed to suit each specific usage: Customers can choose between two diesel engines with 163 PS (120 kW) and 120 PS (90 kW) and between rear-wheel drive and two different four-wheel drive versions. The Amarok initially goes on sale as a four-door, twin-cab model, followed in 2011 by a single-cab version with a larger loading space.
A CROSS BETWEEN A WORKHORSE AND A LIFESTYLE PICKUP
Dietmar Mnich is plant manager at Pacheco. A native of Germany, he moved from Hanover to Argentina in mid-2008 to help set up production of the pickups designed 13,000 kilometers away in Wolfsburg. He soon became aware how common this type of vehicle was in the Buenos Aires region. “Families drive to the beach in the pickup at the weekend, and during the week you see craftsmen using them for work,” says Mnich. Pickups are also popular in neighboring Brazil, where in many places they are regarded as stylish city vehicles. South America is the core target market for the Amarok, but the model will also be sold in Russia, South Africa and Australia. In the second half of the year, it will be available in Western Europe, including Germany, too.
Martín Banegas has been working in body construction at the Pacheco plant for two and a half years. During this time, he has seen new production lines going into operation and has taken part in quality training for the new model. “Here, we see the Amarok as an important step forward,” says Banegas. “It’s good for workers like myself and good for our country. And it has created a lot of jobs.” When he is welding vehicle underbodies, the pride he takes in the product is very much evident. Like many of his colleagues, Banegas wears a black T-shirt bearing the words “Soy parte de Amarok” – “I’m part of the Amarok.”
Eduardo Raffaelli, who is responsible for central project management at the Pacheco plant, is no less enthusiastic. “To begin with, we saw the Amarok first and foremost as an opportunity to develop and as a means of increasing the capacity of our plant,” says Raffaelli. “But now, as the first models are beginning to roll off the production line, we are all quite smitten. The Amarok is not just robust – it’s also a beautiful car.”
THERE IS GREAT INTEREST IN THE AMAROK AMONG DEALERS
In the workshop at “Hauswagen Pilar,” the reaction of customers who come by on other business clearly demonstrates the fascination of the new Pickup. Daniel Cassano looks at the silver body of the Amarok and declares: “I know that it will sell well. This is the car that we dealers have been waiting for all along.”
A STRONG CONTENDER – With a payload of 1.15 tons and 2.52 square meters of loading space, this vehicle is the solution to many transport problems.
Tough test for the Amarok
It was too good an opportunity for Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles to miss: the chance to subject the new Amarok to the toughest of tests right in its native Argentina. Even before the official market launch, 35 Amarok models were used as escort vehicles for the drivers of the Dakar Rally 2010. The Pickups had to contend with 50-degree heat, negotiate 4,700-meter-high mountain passes and cross the driest desert in the world. And every single Amarok made it to the finishing line.