Developed in Germany for global markets and produced in Argentina: With its Amarok Pickup, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is moving into a new vehicle segment – and continuing its steady growth. In South America, the all-rounder is already a star.
The customer had to do a double take – just to make quite sure. Originally, Carlos Alberto Esquercia had completely different business to attend to at the workshop of Volkswagen dealership “Hauswagen Pilar.” But when he saw the silver Pickup on display, he just had to take a closer look. This, after all, was one of the very first examples of the new Volkswagen Amarok – so new that it was not even on the market yet. “Of course, I know the car from having seen pictures – everyone knows it here in Argentina,” says the businessman. He puts his foot on the chrome sill beneath the driver’s door and applies a little pressure. He is already won over by the car’s appearance, now it all comes down to what it can withstand. “Here in Argentina, pickups are used mainly in rural areas,” says Esquercia. “And we have a lot of bad roads.”
ROBUST, BRAWNY AND EQUIPPED WITH STATE-OF-THE-ART TECHNOLOGY
It is a warm January day, 32 degrees in the shade: midsummer in Argentina. Cars driving by on the sandy roads. In front of the “Hauswagen Pilar” salesroom raise clouds of dust as they pass. From here, you have a direct view of the Ruta 8 – also known as the “Panamericana” or “Pan-American Highway” – and you can reach downtown Buenos Aires in less than an hour.
Daniel Cassano is an authorized Volkswagen dealer and general manager of the dealership. “For us dealers, the Amarok is the perfect addition to the commercial vehicles line,” he says. The Volkswagen Saveiro – the pickup version of the small car Gol – is already selling very well. Cassano is confident that the Amarok will enjoy at least the same level of success in Argentina. He opens the bonnet and launches into a lively presentation, explaining to his staff the key selling points of the car, such as its powerful engine, high fuel efficiency and solid construction. It should also be noted that the Amarok has a special place in the hearts of Cassano and his fellow Argentinians. “We Argentinians are crazy about cars,” he says. “And people here can’t wait to see the Amarok for themselves. We are proud that a car with such high quality standards is being built in Argentina.”
PRODUCED IN ARGENTINA, EXPORTED ALL OVER THE WORLD
Argentina is home to 40 million people, a third of whom live in the region around the capital, Buenos Aires. Nonetheless, the vast majority of the country is rural. Stretching all the way from the Brazilian border across the endless pampas down to the glaciers of Patagonia, there is a network of frequently dead straight country roads, from which rough gravel tracks branch off in all directions. Regular travelers on these roads need a car that is both reliable and robust – and ideally one with high ground clearance, too. As a result, pickups are a common sight here. Which in turn means that one of the most important target markets for the Amarok is virtually right outside the factory gates.
The Volkswagen plant in which the Amarok is built is located in the small town of Pacheco, a half hour’s drive from Cassano’s dealership. Production has taken place here since 1994, to date mostly passenger cars for the Argentinian market. The Amarok is a major leap forward for the plant in Argentina, which, until two years ago, ran a single shift. These days, it runs two shifts and – thanks to the Amarok – will soon be introducing a third.
Left: AN OFF-ROAD VEHICLE FOR EVERYONE – The Amarok is equally at home on city boulevards and remote gravel tracks.
Right: PROUD OF “THEIR” CAR – Amarok assembly workers at the plant in Pacheco, Argentina.