VW's Pickup Concept Won't Hit U.S. Roads

GTI Amorak II

By Larry Edsall

Call it the Worthersee concept, the Power Pickup or the Uber Amarok, the concept truck recently debuted in Austria by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles group shows that good things can come in smaller packages.

It doesn't matter what Americans call it, however. That's because Volkswagen of America has no plans to bring the Amarok pickup truck — in production or concept guise — to the U.S. market.

However, there have been published reports that, like our neighbors to the south, our neighbors to the north may be getting VW's pickup. That report, on autoblog.com, also says that the Amarok has proven so popular that VW will produce the pint-sized pickup in its commercial vehicle plant in Austria. So far an assembly plant in Argentina has been producing the pickup, which is sold in South and Central America, Europe, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

Amarok, an Inuit word for wolf, is produced in two- and four-door versions. The new concept vehicle uses the standard cab but with fender flares to make room for 22-inch rims.

But while the wheel/tire package is enlarged, the ride is lowered — by more than 3 inches.

That's all the better for putting to the ground the grunt provided by a 272-horsepower, turbo-diesel 3.0-liter V-6, and this no wimpy engine — it pumps out 442 pounds-feet of torque.

That power flows through an eight-speed automatic transmission to a full-time all-wheel drivetrain, all of which means the truck can sprint from zero to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds, VW claims.

VW notes that this is "not bad" for a vehicle whose cargo area measures 37.67 square feet. In the case of the Amarok concept, that's enough room for a go-kart racer to sit atop boxes holding all the replacement parts, tools and gear needed for a race weekend.

Enhancing the concept's exterior are a new front panel with bi-xenon headlamps with chrome inserts behind clear glass; a matt-black, chrome-trimmed radiator grille and three larger air intakes beneath the front bumper; carbon-fiber sill extensions; gun-metal wheels wrapped with 295/35-aspect rubber; a styling bar behind the passenger compartment; a carbon-fiber rear diffuser to dual tailpipes; smoked rear lamps; and a special LED array that provides what VW terms "a very unique night graphic."

The interior mimics GTI styling with a black-red-white color scheme and folding bucket seats, a sport steering wheel and widened center console. The seat trim is carbon fiber, and the leather is black nubuck with red stitching. The interior trim is brushed aluminum. The instrument panel includes a gauge for timing zero-to-60 sprints.

For those times when you want to hear something other than the exhaust note, the concept has an 8-inch touch-screen display to control an audio system that includes cooled direct-mode amplifiers and a 500-watt subwoofer.

The concept was unveiled at the recent Worthersee 2013, otherwise known as the 32nd GTI Meet, an annual event that attracts nearly 200,000 VW enthusiasts to the shores of Austria's Lake Worthersee.

GTI Amorak 2 II


bummer....not for US

I love the numbers on that 3.0L V6 diesel. An 8-speed auto and all wheel drive it sounds like a winner to me.

I am a bit surprised that VW doesn't already offer the higher powered 3.0 V6 diesel since that has been one of the main drawbacks to the Amarok that the 2.0 just doesn't have the power for such a heavy vehicle.

Maybe they should just source the Audi tuned engines since those are always in a higher spec and could adequately power the truck.

VW thinks...

⚥ Been there, done that

💓 Americans want 4 door vehicles

👀 Fleet, cheapskate buyers will eat up strippers

💾 Can't get much $$$ for it in the US

💚 It'll cannibalize more profitable VWs


That's a sharp looking truck!

Too bad, I'd buy a TD version.

If that was sold in the US, it would be the same price as the Duramax. Who in their right mind would take the VW?

"So far an assembly plant in Argentina has been producing the pickup, which is sold in South and Central America"

Yeah, the shiny death trap ones without airbags optional and whatever else is missing. This won't fly here.

Bummer, but it sort of makes sense. VW is still a small brand in the USA relative to Toyota, Ford, GM, etc., so they don't have a huge number of existing VW customers who would readily buy up pickups.

There's also the fact that truck owners are notoriously brand loyal...it's been very difficult for Honda, Nissan, and Toyota to gain share. No reason to think VW would have success where they didn't.

Still, I love me some Amarok...


They wouldnt sell more than 500 a month here,if that,and those just to VW die hard fans and old women..

Good. I suspect there wasn't a truck market for the hipsters and snobs.

It would be pricey for just a two seater.

The guy on American Pickers has an old VW Truck of some sort. That looked cool, and would seat three.

On the other hand, I seen a Corvair pickup at a car show Saturday. If both of them worked on the safety, and made it more aero, as opposed to 1965 or whatever, that would be cool.

Of course, more power. Knowing the power of the GTI 4 banger turbo, it would work fine. Or the above diesel.

This has all been tried before. Subaru had a little truck called a Brat. They also had a 4 door sedan with a pickup styled back end. Died the all time death. Could not GIVE them away.

VW had a compact pickup back in the 1970s-80s that could not get arrested. Rangers and S10s were flying off the lots, but the little VW died. VW's front office has a long memory.

Ford's Ranger languished on the lots for the last 2 or three years of its existence. No way.

Thank God this monstrocity wont hit the streets of America !

"VW had a compact pickup back in the 1970s-80s that could not get arrested."

Heh, there were a handful of those little Rabbit-based truck-things around here ... with a cloud of blue smoke trailing ALL of them!

Not bad, but I would never buy another VW, I had the worst service experience with a 99 Cabrio, I loved the car, (was the wife's) but has many issues with the top leaking, and the manuf. would not honor anything! I had to take it to a VW specialist, and he fixed it in about 1 hr. he knew it was the weather stripping over the windshield, and fixed it because he knew of a factory update the dealer ignored! then even after I sent the bill to VW customer service, they told me it was too late, I thought it would be, but I told them I would never buy another product, and never have, not two months later they came out with the new SUV and I went to drive it at the dealer that gave me all hassle, and then went back to show them the new MB ML 320 I bought instead, and collected $100 in a sales contest they had if you test drove one of theirs, and then bought from another manuf., note: I will never buy another MB either! nothing but American from now on!

@sandman Never blame the designers, the workers or the manufacturer for the bad behavior of the car dealers. A lot of dealers are really great and some not so much. The fact that you found a craftsman who fixed your leak easily was a great example. I had a new Dodge tradesman van back in 1980--I know it makes me look old--and the dealer refused to fix an obvious defect, but that stuff is rare. Usually dealers make money fixing mfg defects because the factory wants to make it right.

This truck looks nice but I do not trust VWs reliability. Even though I would like more choice in the midsize truck market I would rather this truck did not come to the US.

@Jeff S,
Problem here with VW and something they have to get right.

@Howam00 I agree that small 2 Litre engine puts people off although it is fairly capable.

@Gregory J.
Yes the non modified Amarok does look good in the metal. They are not big sellers here because of the 2 Litre engine, Electrically mainly, reliability problems and lack of choice(Utility Tray, Automatic, that has since been resolved)

VW has had a bad rep lately with the electonics in their gassers. I haven't heard of any outstanding problems with their diesels.

VW had said a long time ago that they would not set up a factory to build the Amarok in the USA unless they expected to sell 100,000 units per year.

There would be a business case for importing the truck since they would not need to spend billions on a factory. The problem is that they would face a 25% tariff on a truck that would have to sell at a similar price to full sized trucks. That would hurt it and as previously pointed out, USA truck buyers are extremely loyal. I doubt that VW would face the same stigma that Asian companies face.

I can't see how this truck would cannibalize sales of its SUV's since the Touareg starts at 44,000 in the USA and 49,000 in Canada. The Tiguan is a small SUV starting at 22,000 in the USA. VW sold USA YTD Touareg 3104 and Tiguan 10,439. In Canada YTD Touareg 653 and Tiguan 1,778. Even if VW were to cannibalize 100% of their SUV sales, they still would not reach their 100,000 unit threshold.

Rumours persist of the Amarok coming to Canada. There may be some import barriers thanks to NAFTA offering some protection to USA companies, but it may be likely since Canada has been more friendly to small diesels. Some are available or coming to Canada with no plans for USA sales.

The Amarok has had no effect on VW SUV sales here. It might not be selling all that well, but Audi and VW SUV's are definitely growing in number here..

@ Denver|||Mike and TRX-4 Tom:

The Amarok is also offered with a double (crew) cab and a 5-ish-foot box. But no extended-type cab or 6-foot box, which is probably due to the way Europeans use their pickups--the regular cab (usually with a trayback or similar body) is a stripped-down commercial vehicle, and the double cab (more often than not, 4x4) is a more personal vehicle. There's not really much need for anything in between.

If any Europeans present would like to correct me on anything, please do so. I don't claim to be an expert on these matters, but sometimes I speak so authoritatively (not just on PUTC, but in real life as well) on matters in which I'm not an expert that people who don't know any better assume I'm right because my answers "make sense" and are spoken with conviction.

They the Europeans only have the pickup bed. Any other variant seems to be on their Van Cab Chassis. Maximum payload 6,600lb.

I would trade my 2000 Ford Ranger in for the Amarok since I can't buy a new Ford Ranger. This new Amarok Concept is really sharp. The best looking truck out there. It would be perfect for me.

No need for a midget truck with the ram diesel coming soon!

@Robert Ryan--I don't have problems with VW having a truck as much as VW has had a lot of reliability issues and usually rates low on quality. They need to address their frequency of repair issues and as Lou stated their issues with electronics. I like the looks of the Amarok but there are much more reliable trucks in the market. Many pan the Honda Ridgeline but Honda has a reputation for long lasting and reliable vehicles. Toyotas can be stodgy but they also have a good reputation as well

I would certainly buy one. That said, having owned several VW and Audi cars, I hope that VAG can someday figure out how to make a power window that works for more than two years.

Is that the only engine available in Amarok in Australia?
I might be looking to move to Australia in about 2 years and I actually thought about what kind of car/truck would I want to drive if I ever moved to the Land of Plenty. This truck would definitely be on my list. I don't think the 2 Liter would scare me away. I think it's a very capable engine.
I've had 2 VWs in my life. Still own '92 GTI. I've never really experienced any serious problems with any of them. I also had an '04 GLI 1.8T.
I drive a Silverado here in the States. I think it would be kind of tough to downsize now. I really enjoy driving a full sizer but with mid sizers being almost as big as full size trucks these days maybe it wouldn't be as hard as I think.

@ Gregory J.:
I enjoy full-sized pickups, since that's all I've ever driven in a commercial role or otherwise, but if I were getting a personal vehicle I'd love to have a mid-sized extended cab with a 7' bed (I know, it's never been made, and the 7' bed hasn't been offered on any compact since...mid-2000's?), something big enough to haul all my sh*t around, plus 5 or maybe even 6 people in a pinch (compact/mid-size extended cabs aren't known for generous interior dimensions), and still be small enough that I could reach the passenger-side door from the driver's seat without stretching (to, I don't know, roll down the manual windows or something?) like I do in my current Mazda Tribute.

It'll never happen, but there's nothing wrong with wishing for it.

@Lou - Why would the Amarok or this concept face a 25% tariff? What import truck has EVER paid 25%???

And none of the import trucks from the mini-truck craze/fad/invasion EVER had to sell at full-size truck prices. So why would this VW truck? OTOH, base full-size trucks are so cheap that they handily cap the price of mid-size trucks in the USA/NA. This isn't a problem in the rest of the world. Great reason to avoid the USA/NA though.

VW could import their truck similar to the mini-trucks during the craze/fad/invasion or hecho them along side their USA/NA VW cars in Puebla Mexico.

And where was all this 'USA truck' "loyalty", that you speak so highly of, during the mini-truck craze/fad/invasion??? And what 'Asian company' "stigma"?

In actuality, mini-trucks and mid-size have never really been in direct competition with American trucks. At least not full-size. Full size trucks, or at least the F-150 has been the #1 car before, during and after the whole mini-truck craze/fad/invasion... No, small truck compete with everything else, mid-size to compact. SUVs, crossovers, sedans, coupes, sports wagons, hatchbacks etc.

Small trucks fall into the "fad" category in the USA/NA, except for a small core of dedicated small truck buyers including commercial, fleet, tradesmen, utilities, and other assorted cheapskates and bottom feeders that are strictly looking for roll-up windows and rubber floors. Sunroofs? Navigation? KICKER™ sound systems? Hand stitched leather dashboards? Ha!

VW TDIs have more than their share of problems. You don't hear about them so much because they're a niche product. They make the PowerStroke look like look good...

It's not that a VW pickup would cannibalize Touaregs or Tigans necessarily, but definitely the Passat, Golf, Beetle, Jetta and (w/camper shell) sports wagens. And would undercut most of their prices, some of which exceed $30,000.
The years the Subaru Baja was in production, Outback/Legacy and Forester sales took a dip and rose again soon after. Subaru was hoping to make a dent in the small truck market and instead, really shot themselves in the foot.


Perhaps the mini-truck craze/fad is still going strong in the rest of the world, but in the USA/NA, they only excite those looking for the lowest common denominator to trucks. What's up, Orkin?

@Denver|||Mike - yaawwwwnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn...........................zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz



That's what I said about your post, but you seem to suffer from Alzheimer'... They say definitely do not, I repeat, DO NOT confront and play along so not to shock the subject or else they could go into a full panic!

@Gregory J.
Is that the only engine available in Amarok in Australia?"

Yes it seems it has replaced the engine in the Crafter as well. A bit small overall, that 3 Litre Engine would be a lot better. Above the the Cab Chassis variants of Vans, the true trucks start at 7.5 tonne GVWR or 16,500lb then the sky is limit then, to roughly 300 ton capacity for a factory built Truck(Not a specialty modified unit)

You will find more choice in that regards from the likes of Toyota, Nissan,Ford, Mazda, Isuzu, Mitsubishi and Holden(GM). They all offer 3 Litre diesels

Kind of reminds me of the Jeep Comanche.... Hey, Jeep... why not? If VW doesn't do it, maybe you should!


"Above the the Cab Chassis variants of Vans, the true trucks start at 7.5 tonne GVWR or 16,500lb then the sky is limit then, to roughly 300 ton capacity for a factory built Truck(Not a specialty modified unit)"

Your #'s are a little OFF. They don't translate well to US SAE guidelines. The Mercedes/Freightliner 2500 Sprint cargo van has about HALF the GVWR at 8,550 lbs and a 2,872 payload... And it's a ¾ ton!!!


I leased a 2000 New Beetle GLX 1.8 Turbo around the turn of the century and, while I was impressed by the apparent build quality and driving experience (the car went like hell and still got over 30 MPG), it had several niggling electrical problems (all covered under warranty).

Today I don't think i would buy another VW...especially a truck, because I tend to buy used these days and don't really need the electrical system headaches. (From what I've read, the new VWs aren't a whole lot better.)

However, I WOULD like to see VW sell them here as competition is a good thing and this could only improve the trucks offered here by other manufacturers. I cringe when I read closed-minded comments from some of the xenophobic rednecks on this site.

the 3 liter diesel sounds great but i'd prefer the 2 liter 190hp with 290 torque, with an 8spd auto and 7k towing. give me max mpg!

Personally, I like the fact that Volkswagen is at least thinking smaller trucks. However, even if they change their minds and bring this 'little' thing to the States, it will remain as over-priced as almost all of their other products for its size. I'm not interested in paying 32 to 35 thousand dollars for what will be essentially a light utility vehicle, though I know others will do their damnedest to turn them into two-seat sports trucks. Unless the base price starts UNDER $20K, I wouldn't buy it.

On the other hand, if all compact pickups to come start at a similar figure--say around $23K, then I'll choose what meets my needs best for the price. The early Saturn Vue was a remarkable little rig at a $16K starting price. Compared to that first version, the 2008 version was a complete waste of money that I didn't even consider when I bought my Jeep, despite the fact it was still less expensive than that Jeep.

What a shocker.

Said the auto company oligopoly to the US consumer:
"You'll drive what we give you."

@Glenn: I seen a very well taken care of VW pickup recently, it really got my attention, because they aren't ussually around.

About 10 years ago I remember being at the asphalt oval track at Corpus Cristi, TX, (Where the Labonte brothers came from) Somebody had a VW longbed (was there a short one?) out there racing, painted up like Bobby's #18. It was average asfar as how it placed out there. I think a Dodge Rampage FWD would have beat it, but yet would have hauled less.

Wow! Not one complaint about how it doesn't have round fender openings like an F-150.

PapaJim: I was making a long story short, and I had taken the car back 4 times! at an expense to me! as I live on a island and the ferry cost a lot, and the dealer knew this, and still even refused to reimburse me for that after the 3rd time!, it ended up costing me more for the boat trips, than to go to the right place out of pocket in the first place, and this was the second dealer who was awful! and I even had to replace the ruined carpet in the whole car, out of pocket! So it cost me over $5oo, for a part the dealer pays $35 !!!! for. This is not including time out of work, and aggravation front the other half!

@ Joe: I think that's because the VW hasn't had square wheel wells for 25 years, unlike someone else we can all name...

@Denvermike - you lost me on that last post of yours.

I fell asleep because your chicken tax song and dance is style and no substance. Like that old commercial.. WHERE"S THE BEEF?" Your tofu burgers are getting stale.

Why would VW say they would need to sell 100,000 units per year in the USA to make it worthwhile to build a factory in the USA when, according to you, they could easily and cheaply avoid the chicken tax?

They are considering importing into Canada..... but not the USA....hmmmmmm.

Yes, I agree that the small truck market isn't growing by leaps and bounds, and yes I agree that other factors like full sized truck competition and cheapskate buyers all fit into the picture.

Denverspin has problems working out weights and understanding a post.

@RobertRyan - It appears you've dropped too many weights on your head, if you're seriously about your trolling. Personally, I think you and Bafooooo are just here for our entertainment¡¡¡

At least mine...


"Why would VW say they would need to sell 100,000 units per year in the USA to make it worthwhile to build a factory in the USA when, according to you, they could easily and cheaply avoid the chicken tax?"

First, it would be Hecho en Mexico, not the USA.

Secondly, why does VW build their US cars in Mexico? What 'Car Chicken tax' set up that scenario??? Seriously, VW could import the truck or could build it in Puebla, Mexico along side their cars, and it wouldn't make much if any, difference. ¿Ask VW why they don't just import their cars?

3rd) OEM mouth piece/ marketers will say whatever puts them in the best 'light'. The public just wouldn't understand key words like "cannibalize" and "don't ask us for $H!T".

Btw, the 'supposed' "Chicken tax" applies in Canada_ just_the_same... O0opps!

Could it be your Canadian safety and emissions regs are more lax? Either way, enjoy..

Try and understand the post. I know you have severe difficulties understanding simple concepts. Your reply HAD NOTHING to do with what I posted!


"the true trucks start at 7.5 tonne GVWR or 16,500lb then the sky is limit then, to roughly 300 ton capacity..."


BTW, 16,500lb is "5500" series 'medium duty class' in the US.

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