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Master of all terrain.


On March 12, 2010, the team – consisting of three Amaroks accompanied by two Volkswagen Multivans – set off in Bariloche at the foot of the Andes mountain range in Argentina. The route that lay ahead of them would take in 60 Volkswagen dealers in 47 cities in Latin America – launching the Amarok in the respective national markets. They covered almost 20,000 kilometers – the equivalent of two-and-a-half times the distance between Wolfsburg and Beijing. 87 days later, on June 6, 2010, the tour reached the Volkswagen plant in Puebla, Mexico.

With the Amarok as its fourth model series, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles succeeded in boosting its growth rate. “This is the car that our portfolio has needed for a long time; the Amarok will allow us to penetrate new markets,” says Dr. Wolfgang Schreiber, speaker for the Board of Management of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. Today, Volkswagen is the largest automotive manufacturer in Latin America, one of the key growth markets for the sector. In Brazil and Mexico, Volkswagen even holds the number one spot. With the Amarok, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is now cementing its stronghold in this diverse continent, the jewel in the crown of the pickup market. Fernando Badia, Head of the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ Latin America Office, explains: “Demand has by far exceeded our expectations. The orders just kept rolling in throughout the tour.”

“The best ambassador for the Amarok is of course the Amarok itself.” Volkmar Steinhorst (quotation)

The Amarok, built in the Pacheco Volkswagen plant near the Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires, is up against tough competition in South America. Nonetheless, the 5.25-meter newcomer has power, versatility and typical Volkswagen quality on its side. When it comes to safety and driving comfort, the Volkswagen pickup has a key technological edge thanks to its fuel-efficient drive technologies, Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and Anti-Slip Regulation (ASR). The second Amarok production line, with an annual capacity of 40,000 vehicles, is scheduled to open in mid-2012 in the main Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles production facility in Hanover. For the moment, however, the focus is on Latin America.

But how do you go about conquering an entire continent? How do you “bring” a new model to dealers and customers who are scattered from the southernmost tip of South America to up around the Gulf of Mexico? How can you give them the opportunity to touch it, feel it and sit behind the wheel? For Volkmar Steinhorst, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ Regional Manager for Central and South America, there was only one answer: The best ambassador for the Amarok is of course the Amarok itself.

For two years, the tour was planned by the Latin America Office with Fernando Badia at the helm. The team presented the vehicles at each stage: at the local dealer, in press conferences with regional journalists and in countless encounters with customers and other interested parties. Daily newspapers, motoring magazines, radio and local TV stations all reported on the Amarok Challenge. The “rolling market launch” also met with enthusiastic feedback online, the dedicated website with online diary and photos registering almost 60,000 users in the course of the tour.


The new Amarok has proven to be a workhorse – reliable, robust and powerful. However, with its styling and brand image, the pickup is seen more and more often cutting an impressive figure on city boulevards and promenades, such as those on the Pan-American Highway along the Pacific coast in Northern Peru. Espil can still vividly recall this leg of the tour as “one of the most beautiful places on Earth”. And yes, he would do it all again any time. But only in an Amarok. “There is no car that is better equipped to handle such a demanding tour.”

Automobile “Tortur” – The Amarok 2.0 TDi Highline 4MOTION, with a 2.0-liter turbo diesel direct-injection engine rated at 163 PS, showed what is needed for latin American terrain: reliability, robustness and power. (photo)

A MIGHTY AUTOMOBILE FEAT – The Amarok showed what is needed for Latin American terrain: reliability, robustness and power.
Felipe Aja Espil, Volkmar Steinhorst and Fernando Badia (left to right) organized the arduous automotive tour.


Tina Rumpelt

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