The 3.0-litre V6-engined turbodiesel Volkswagen Amarok has become the brand’s best-selling version of the South American-built, German-badged workhorse, accounting for three out of every four Australian sales last month alone. And when it comes to digging deep, most of those 165kW/550Nm V6 sales are for either the $59,990 Highline or the $67,990 Ultimate, Volkswagen spokesman Paul Pottinger said, and not the cheaper $55,490 Sportline (below).
“People are just going to the top end,” Pottinger told WhichCar. “You just look at V6 Amarok with 74 percent of Amarok sales last month. And most of those were not the Sportline, but the higher-end, the two higher versions.”
The V6-engined version of the Amarok is currently the most powerful trade ute on the Australian market, although the brand does offer a twin-turbocharged four-cylinder 2.0-litre engine as an option. The V6 was introduced to the range late in the Amarok’s life – the ute originally launched here in 2012 – because the 2.0-litre diesel was unable to meet tightening European emissions standards, while the V6 could.
The success of the V6-engined Amarok won’t go unnoticed by rivals, including Ford, which plans to launch a Raptor-badged version of the Ranger trade ute featuring what is believed to be a twin-turbo four-cylinder diesel engine, and Mercedes-Benz with its upcoming X-Class, the luxury brand’s first entry into the premium trade ute battlefield. It will also feature a turbodiesel V6 under its bonnet. Both are due on sale in Australia sometime next year. While the Raptor will focus on explosive bursts of speed and sharp handling, like the Amarok the X-Class is expected to align itself as a caravan-friendly alternative to parking an SUV in the driveway – the Amarok will soon match its rivals with a 3.5-tonne towing capacity.
Trade utes are huge business in Australia. In September, the Ford Ranger outsold the Toyota Hilux to become Australia’s best-selling vehicle for the month. The light commercial segment in Australia – the corner of the market where the trade utes’ sales numbers are measured – shows that almost one in five of all vehicles sold are likely to have a cab up front and a tray out the back.
When it comes to 4x4 trade utes – the versions that private buyers are more likely to own - between them the Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux command two out of every five sales. Other strong sellers in the market include the price-driven Mitsubishi Triton, the Holden Colorado, the Nissan Navara and the Isuzu D-Max.