Volkswagen Australia claiming to have taken the lucky group Amarok customers using “Australia’s most remote test drive experience”, driving a fleet of new dual-cab cars from Broken Hill to Birdsville around the Simpson Desert.
A fleet of 17 utes undertook an expedition to the Big Red Bash, Australia’s most remote music festival located near the junction of Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory. VW Australia is the main sponsor of the music event.
Some 4000 kilometers were covered in some of the worst conditions in Australia, including an unseasonably wet outback climate that included a series of road closures and recently reopened trails with over 100km of continuous mud.
Starting in Broken Hill, 17 Amarok TDI600 V6 models navigated Sturt National Park into regional Queensland, along the Warry Gate Road to Eromanga and then Windorah. The final stretch saw the Amarok fleet drive from Windorah to Birdsville.
Once at the Big Red Bash, Volkswagen opened a remote test drive center for customers to try out its new gadget for three days – with the company reporting more than 130 test drives conducted during that period.
There was even one customer who did arguably one of the longest test drives ever, driving one of the vehicles over 2000 kilometers back to Sydney after their own vehicle broke down at the festival.
“We wanted to show real Australians, families who tow caravans and explore the full outback, the depth of engineering in our Australian-designed second-generation Amarok,” said Nathan Johnson, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles national manager for marketing and product.
“The all-new Amarok is a direct result of taking feedback from Australians and creating a ute born from the steadfast love of our dual-cab car-loving market – [the Amarok’s] the largest in the entire world.”
Volkswagen Australia unveiled the new-generation Amarok in May, after four years in development including much of its local engineering and testing – a collaboration between VW’s Melbourne-based team and the brand’s representatives in Hannover, Germany.
The company’s latest two-cab car is also a joint development between itself and Ford, using the heavily redesigned T6 platform from the new Ford Ranger and Everest to create the second-gen pickup.
Within months, the Amarok already accounts for 2.3 per cent of the 4×4 ute market in Australia, with 2202 vehicles registered to the end of June. However, it is yet to be seen on the market-leading Ford Ranger 4×4 (23,620 units) and Toyota HiLux 4×4 (21,808 units).
At an Australian media launch in May, VW’s local team said it expected to sell up to 8000 units of the South African-made (previously Argentinian) utility in 2023, with ‘solid supply’ expected to see the rest of the year following the initial rush of launch arrivals.
“What we see in terms of production outside the factory is good. We expect we’ll be able to sell around 8000 this year, and that’s only because that’s what we can get,” said Ryan Davies, boss of VW Commercial. Car Expert in the month of May.
For reference, the Amarok’s best year in Australia was 2018, which saw the company deliver 9290 vehicles to local customers – the brand’s current forecast suggests 2024 could see a new record in the second-generation Amarok’s first full year on sale, should 2023 supply prevent progress beyond the 8000 figure. which has been revealed for May-December 2023.
The full local range is now on sale in Australia following the phased launch of lower Core and Life variants, with the line-up starting at $52,990 for the Core TDI405 single turbo diesel, rising to $79,990 for the flagship Aventura in both TDI600 V6 turbo-diesel and TSI452 four-cylinder turbo alias gasoline.
Birdsville’s Big Red Bash – which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year – runs from July 4-6, 2023. The show will be broadcast and hosted next by Broken Hill Mundi Mundi Bash from August 17-19, with local acts headlining notables include Icehouse, John Williamson, Hoodoo Gurus, Human Nature, Pete Murray, The Angels, Troy Cassar-Daley, Kate Ceberano, Wendy Matthews and many more.
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