As I was pulling out of a junkyard parking spot last month I caught sight of something unfamiliar out of the corner of my eye that caused me to do a double take. Then I pulled right back into another parking spot in order to get out and take a closer look as I realized it was a VW Amarok, the pickup not sold in the US or Canada.
Of course it was a was a visitor from Mexico, just like the even smaller RAM 700 I saw earlier this year. Mexico gets all kind of stuff that we don’t, largely due to their different regulatory and taxation/tariff climate, but that works the other way too, there’s no perfect solution and the markets have many differences. In any case this is the truck that some people seem to want to see for sale over here but after looking it over quickly I think VW is correct in believing there isn’t likely to be much of a market for it. I’ve bought new VWs and owned several others and generally feel pretty good about them but don’t see a burning need to buy a pickup from them with all of the other currently available choices, not that there looks to be anything wrong with it in general.
While it is a diesel (not really a plus anymore for VW), and this particular one has been “bro-trucked” a bit with the fender flares, side steps, custom wheels and rear-facing LED light bar I’m just not seeing what it would really bring to the table that isn’t already handily covered by Ford, GM, Toyota, and Nissan. GM even offers a diesel in their Canyon/Colorado. Maybe a better set of driving dynamics? But is it really going to feel like a GTI pickup? Doubtful.
VW likely wouldn’t be able to move much volume at all at the price this would need to sell for over here – as opposed to perhaps Mitsubishi if they could bring theirs over or build it on this continent at an attractive price. VW do make the Amarok in both a 4cylinder diesel as well as a V6 diesel, but I am not sure which of those this might be although the black mirrors and door handles seem to indicate a more basic model so likely a 4cylinder. This one was probably produced in Argentina for the Mexican market, apparently some are built in Hannover, Germany, as well for the European market. Johannes Dutch can probably provide more details…
The overall size was pretty close to the Nissan Frontier that was parked nearby, perhaps the VW is a hair larger but not significantly so. I didn’t get close enough to look in the cab as I keep a greater distance than usual in the junkyard parking lots and the windows were heavily tinted anyway. And it’s not uncommon for people to be in the vehicles.
This one’s had a bit of a run-in with…something. Imagine a large chrome VW logo in the grille, a supplemental grille below with a couple of fog lights and you’ve got the general idea here. Not at all bad looking in the normal VW conservative way, it would certainly blend right in. Hopefully the owner isn’t in the junkyard looking for a new bumper for it, he’s not going to find it here.
It’s certainly interesting that VW decided to build it, but why not? There are of course other markets that like pickups as much as we do here (Ok, maybe not quite as much), and the parts of the world that do though generally go for what we call the midsize segment which this fits into perfectly. I hope this one finds its way back home sooner or later, but am glad I got to see it in the metal surrounded by more familiar products, it’s harder to get a good sense of scale when seeing them in other countries.