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High Oz demand for Volkswagen Amarok V6

In demand: Volkswagen expects to be swamped with orders for its new turbo-diesel V6 Amarok ute.

Thousands of ‘hot leads’ for VW Amarok V6 before Aussie specs, pricing announced

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Volkswagen logo24 Nov 2016

INITIAL demand for Volkswagen’s new V6-engined Amarok diesel ute is expected to outstrip supply, with an unprecedented 70 per cent of more than 7000 online expressions of interest requesting dealer contact.

Speaking with GoAuto at the Amarok V6 launch in Canberra this week, Volkswagen Group Australia commercial vehicles director Carlos Santos described the situation as “heavily over-subscribed”.

“It is about managing customer expectations for the next 12 months,” he said.

The 7311 online sales leads were received in the time between the online form going live on Sunday and the media launch that commenced on Tuesday, well before local pricing and specifications went public this morning.

Mr Santos said the 70 per cent “hot leads” hit rate had never been seen before on any VW product.

“These people are not people saying they want the brochure,” said Mr Santos.

“They are saying ‘please contact me as soon as you get this car, I want to drive it’.”

Around 400 V6 diesel Amaroks have been secured for local delivery before the end of this year and half of the 8000-10,000 expected to make landfall in 2017 will have this engine, contributing to an anticipated five per cent sales uptick for the German brand’s ute range.

Initially, all V6 Amaroks will come from Volkswagen’s Hanover plant in Germany, which has so far supplied the Atacama, Canyon and Dark Label special editions to Australia, but the Pacheco plant in Argentina that has traditionally produced mainstream variants for Australia will come on stream with V6 production around mid-2017 to boost supply.

Volkswagen Group Australia product marketing manager Nick Reid told GoAuto the local operation will campaign for more V6 production if uptake is strong, and that sourcing from two plants in parallel will help.

He said that of the markets where both four-cylinder and V6 Amaroks will be available, Australia is expected to have the world’s largest uptake of six-cylinder variants.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles international sales director Jan Michel told GoAuto that Australia is the third market after the European Union and Turkey to receive the six-cylinder Amarok.

He said Australia is an important Amarok market, being the biggest taker of the one-tonner outside its South American primary production base.

“Australia is where we are really putting our attention and focus … to develop everything for our ute, the Amarok,” said Dr Michel, who hinted that Australian consumer preferences played a part in the decision to plumb in a big V6 engine.

“I could pretend that we developed the V6 for Australia, I mean maybe 50 per cent of that is true,” he said.

Although Australian Amarok sales to the end of October are down 17.8 per cent for 4x2 variants and up just 0.6 per cent for the 4x4, Mr Santos expected overall volume to be up by around five per cent by the years’ end, with between 8500 and 9000 sold.

“Amarok has grown five per cent in a segment that has grown 10 per cent so we’ve lost share but increased volume,” he said.

The Amarok is Volkswagen’s second-most popular model in Australia after the Golf small car, followed closely by the light-sized Polo. However the first full sales year of the new Tiguan medium SUV is expected to nudge Amarok into third place by the end of 2017.

Mr Santos said some “good deals” would be offered for the “bridging volume” of existing four-cylinder Amarok variants to keep sales ticking over until the range-wide refresh is completed early next year.

In addition to a further five per cent sales increase expected for 2017, bringing the Amarok total closer to 10,000 units, Mr Santos hoped the V6 would help ensure customer retention for the Amarok nameplate.

“I am really keen to look at that closely because at the end of 2012 we introduced the automatic and that is when the sales went up again – it is those customers I have a feeling will come back for a V6,” he said.

Mr Santos also told GoAuto there would be a renewed marketing push for the Amarok, with an initial TV and digital campaign centred on “people who know cars” test-driving the V6 variants to experience the additional performance.

He said more promotional opportunities will come from the arrival of refreshed four-cylinder Amaroks in the first quarter of 2017, followed by a V6-powered Aventura flagship mid-year and manual V6 options in the fourth quarter.

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