VW could enter pick-up market in 2023

Volkswagen has some big plans with a lot of new models in the next 2 years, and we were able to take a peek at some of the models they intend to launch. Some are tagged as certain, but there are many interesting ones tagged as “realistic”.

For now, we'd like to focus on one of the realistic models: the Volkswagen Amarok in 2023. Exciting, isn't it?

According to insiders, Volkswagen Philippines is looking at entering an entirely new market segment for them: the pick-up class. Those who have spent time abroad or are familiar with Volkswagen's international model lineup would know what the Amarok is: a pick-up truck available as a single cab and as a double cab.

This Volkswagen competes directly against the likes of the Toyota Hilux, Mitsubishi L200/Strada/Triton, Ford Ranger, Isuzu D-Max, Mazda BT-50, Nissan Navara/Frontier, and the Chevrolet Colorado (formerly). In terms of market presence, the Amarok has been available in countries in Central and South America, Europe, Australia, and South Africa.

VW Amarok Ford Ranger article image

The Amarok available internationally, however, is already quite dated as it was originally launched in 2010 as a first-generation model. But that is not what is being planned for the Philippines; what they are looking at is the second generation model coming in 2023.

The second-generation Amarok hasn't been revealed in production form yet, but they did release sketches of the model recently. That is what is being eyed for our market. The interesting thing is this: the Amarok will share a lot of things with the next-generation Ranger. Ford and Volkswagen have entered into an alliance when it comes to these trucks and the Ranger, like the Amarok, has yet to be revealed too.

We don't have any details on the specs yet, but what we can speculate on is where the vehicle will likely come from. The factories that currently produce the first generation Amarok are going to be unlikely sources for the second-generation model; those would be Argentina and Algeria. We have no FTA with them to take advantage of and that means a high import duty.

VW Amarok Ford Ranger article image

Thailand is our first bet because it is a truck country. But after consulting with our colleagues there, it seems Volkswagen has no plans of producing it in Thailand unless they plan to enter a production agreement with Ford Thailand Manufacturing.

That strategy would not be alien to Ford, as they did produce the Ranger and BT-50 when Mazda was in the family. But there is no word as to any kind of agreement on producing the Ranger and the Amarok at the plant. That would have been good though, as it would mean 0% import duty under the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA). It would even be better if they established a factory in the Philippines, which was something that Volkswagen and the government were looking for in the last few years, but it didn't push through.

The other more likely option is if the second-generation Amarok is produced in China with SAIC-VW. The current Amarok isn't produced by any of Volkswagen's joint ventures in China (SAIC or FAW), but given the scale of their factories there it may be a possibility in the future.

If the Amarok is produced in China, it would be able to take advantage of the 5% import duty (instead of 20% or 30%) as it would be classified under AHTN 8704.21 and ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA).

If this truck does arrive in our showrooms (fingers crossed), will a Volkswagen pick-up be interesting to you?