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Ford alliance great for Australia: Volkswagen

Power couple: Volkswagen and Ford will co-develop their next-generation light-commercial vehicles including the popular Amarok and Ranger pick-ups.

Volkswagen/Ford light-commercial-vehicle collaboration “a big win” for Australia

Volkswagen logo13 Feb 2019

VOLKSWAGEN Group Australia director of commercial vehicles Ryan Davies says that the brand’s alliance with Ford to co-develop their next-generation light-commercial vehicles will give Australia more input on future product.

 

The alliance will see the pair collaborate on the next Amarok and Ranger utes, as well as mid-size and small vans for each marque.

 

Speaking to GoAuto at the Caddy Beach camper van launch in Sydney this week, Mr Davies said that the alliance is good news for the German brand’s local wing.

 

“For Volkswagen Australia and certainly commercial vehicles, we are very excited by it,” he said.

“Having Australia involved as such a key player in the development is a big win for us, it’s a great collaboration.”

 

Asked what resources Ford and Volkswagen would share, Mr Davies said that “details are still up in the air”, however, he reiterated that Ford would take the lead on the pick-up and mid-size vans.

 

“In terms of what can be shared and what can be leveraged is to be ironed out,” he said.

 

“But the reality of it is, Ford is the lead on the mid-size pick-up project, and they will be too on the mid-size van, but we’ll take the lead role on the city van, which is the Caddy equivalent.”

 

Mr Davies could not say how much input Australia would have on the new models but suggested that the alliance should give them more swing.

“Australia now has a say,” he said. “Fundamentally it’s a global alliance, but that doesn’t mean we are a silent partner in the development of the new Amarok and Ranger.”

 

According to Mr Davies, both companies will ensure that despite sharing a platform, their final products will differ from each other.

“It’s up to each company to protect the DNA of each respective brand and maintain the driving dynamics and design of their own products.”

 

With Ford taking the majority of responsibility for the next-generation pick-ups, the Volkswagen Amarok will be partly developed at Ford Asia Pacific’s Victoria-based product development centre.

 

The Amarok may then be put into production at the Ford Thailand Manufacturing plant in Rayong alongside the Ranger, instead of Argentina and Germany where the current Amarok is sourced.

 

If this is the case, Volkswagen should be able to lower the price of the Amarok as it would be subject to the free-trade agreement which eliminates the five per cent import duty that the company must currently pay.

 

The Ranger was the second-best-selling mid-size pick-up in Australia last year with 42,144 units registered, topped only by the Toyota HiLux which achieved 50,376 sales, while, the Amarok managed just 9290 total sales in 2018.

 

For reference, the Amarok starts at $38,490 plus on-road costs, while the Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux ask $27,990 and $20,990 for their entry-level variants respectively.


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