VOLKSWAGEN HAS announced today that 20 of its its upcoming Amarok utilities will act as support vehicles for the 2010 Dakar Rally, a further 15 acting as press and shuttle vehicles.
For local ute fans, Volkswagen representatives confirmed to TMR today that while an exact date is unclear, the Amarok remains a strong likelihood for a late 2010 Australian debut.
The Dakar Rally will be the production Amarok's first appearance, before launching in South America, Europe and the rest of the world.
Volkswagen will use the event to put the Amarok through final endurance tests: while it won't be competing, it must still be able to handle the same rough terrain faced by the participating teams.
In addition to the Amarok's role as a support and press vehicle, Volkswagen will be entering four Race Touareg teams in the event, which covers 9000km through Argentina - where the Amarok will be built - and Chile.
?The Volkswagen Amarok is Volkswagen?s answer to the pickup and on the Dakar Rally it will have the chance to show what it?s made of and to demonstrate its flexibility and durability?, Stephan Schaller, CEO of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles said.
?Moreover, the Volkswagen Amarok is built in Argentina and South America is one of the most important markets for this product, so taking part in the 2010 Dakar Rally was an absolute must for us?, stresses Schaller.
The Amarok will be available at launch as a 4?4 dual-cab. A single-cab version is expected to surface later.
Volkswagen has been clear about its intent to usurp Toyota's position as the world's number one carmaker. With the German carmaker recently outdoing its Japanese foe for production numbers, the battle is sure to heat up when the Amarok faces off against the iconic HiLux.
In Australia, the top selling vehicles for October was the Toyota Corolla, followed closely by the HiLux.