Volkswagen Developing Amarok-Based SUV to Fight Toyota Prado
Seven-Seat SUV Could Hit Australia by 2019
Volkswagen may be readying a Toyota Land Cruiser Prado rival in Australia, based on its midsize Amarok pickup. According to Aussie car site Motoring, Volkswagen Australia Commercial Vehicles Director Carlos Santos said there had been some serious development on the “hard-core” SUV, but it was unconfirmed.
Santos insinuated there was enough demand to justify such a vehicle, given the success of traditional SUVs like the Ford Everest and Toyota Prado (pictured below and sold here in lux form as the Lexus GX). Furthermore, policy-makers in Australia have given the Volkswagen Amarok’s new 3.0L turbodiesel V-6 their stamp of regulatory approval, and a new large SUV would give VW more avenues to make money on the big oilburner, particularly in such a hot segment. Off-road SUVs currently occupy Australia’s fourth-place spot in new vehicle sales, after compact cars, medium-size SUVs, and 4x4 trucks.
Volkswagen will probably sell about 10,000 Amarok pickups Down Under, which is a huge number for a nation with a population of only about 29 million. Adding a proper off-roading SUV would only increase the company’s sales in a region of the world that values long-haul ruggedness and efficiency. Furthermore, the SUV’s 3.0L engine would be the only V-6 diesel in its class, as the Everest is powered by a 3.2L I-5 and the Prado by a 2.8L I-4. That could pay dividends in refinement and comfort, without sacrificing capability or efficiency.
No timetable has been set for the “Amarok wagon,” but experts suggest it could come by the close of the decade. Don’t plan on seeing it in U.S. dealers, though, as this rig will possibly be an Australia-only affair.