Now for the next Volkswagen Amarok Walkinshaw Edition

Now for the next Volkswagen Amarok Walkinshaw Edition

After the success of the original Volkswagen Amarok W580 series, the company is already dreaming of special editions for the next generation of the Ford Ranger-based model.

Volkswagen Australia says it is in serious talks with Holden Special Vehicles’ former tuning division – the Walkinshaw Automotive Group – about a successor to the hugely popular W580 series based on the original Volkswagen Amarok.

The second-generation Ford Ranger-based Volkswagen Amarok is set to arrive in Australian showrooms from April 2023, where it is expected to become the German marque’s best-selling model locally.

And a Walkinshaw edition of the new-generation Volkswagen Amarok is in the pipeline.

“We have never hidden from the fact that both parties (Volkswagen Australia and Volkswagen) are interested in continuing the partnership, but we have not formalized that yet,” said Ryan Davies, head of Volkswagen Australia’s commercial vehicle division.

“Our intention would be to evaluate what a new program might look like and then get a position on it relatively quickly. It’s difficult to start development until you have cars here.

“Both parties’ appetites to proceed (with special edition vehicles) are high. And the market is definitely ready for another W-series Amarok. The new model is coming and we would be crazy not to look into it.”

Asked if Volkswagen Australia would follow the same successful formula as before – start with a tarmac version before adding an off-road edition at a later stage – Mr Davies said: “I can’t say for sure if we’ll be the same Formula would follow (a tarmac edition followed by an off-road version).

“But we will be working with the team here at Walkinshaw to determine what we think are the (strengths) of the new range and then decide what is the best way forward.

“There is a lot of technical expertise in the Walkinshaw business that we can draw on to identify where the gaps in the ute market might be and how best to capitalize on those opportunities.”

Asked whether future Walkinshaw versions of the new Volkswagen Amarok could be sold abroad, Davies said: “Whether a program (like this) is transferrable to other global markets remains to be seen. I’m not sure if we’re working towards that. For us, the new Amarok is much more about what we do in our own garden.”

Ryan Walkinshaw said working with a diverse portfolio of car companies – such as Ram Trucks Australia, General Motors Specialty Vehicles, Volkswagen and Toyota – has future-proofed its engineering and assembly business and kept Australia’s car manufacturing capabilities alive after Ford’s closure received Toyota and Holden car assembly lines in 2016 and 2017.

“We are a multi-brand partnership company and rely on it to build a strong company for our future,” said Mr Walkinshaw.

“We found out the hard way that we shouldn’t rely on a relationship with just one automotive partner, because one day they might show up and say they’re shutting down production and you need to reorganize your business in the next six months.

“Since (Holden’s closure) we have grown our company from 20 engineers to almost 100 engineers and 250 manufacturing employees to almost 1500 assembly workers.”

Joshua Dowling has been a motoring journalist for over 20 years, most of his time working for The Sydney Morning Herald (as motor editor and one of the early members of the Drive team) and News Corp Australia. He joined CarAdvice / Drive in 2018 and has been a World Car of the Year judge for more than 10 years.

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