But it’s now been confirmed the vehicles will be built alongside each other in South Africa.
VW Commercial Vehicles in a statement says the Amarok successor will be built at Ford’s Silverton plant in Gauteng (formerly Transvaal) from 2022.
This tie-up is one of numerous product alliances that Ford and VW agreed upon recently.
However, while they are set to share common underpinnings and a factory, it doesn’t mean the Amarok is going to be a Ranger with VW badges.
“What is important for both partners is the utilisation of the same platform,” VWCV chairman Thomas Sedran said.
“At the same time we will both be able to fully deploy our strengths. Through custom designs and interfaces we will clearly differentiate the two models.”
In fact, were it not for the cooperation, and the development cost savings incurred, VW would not have even developed a new Amarok.
The main markets for the new utes will be Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Apart from South Africa, VW has not mentioned any other production locations, which suggests it might be great from an export perspective.
It has long been the producer of Polos for the world’s right-hand drive markets.
Little else is known about the next-generation Amarok at this stage, although the teaser sketch does give us a fair idea of how it will look — but probably not with those Tonka wheels and muscly wheel arches.
The Amarok-Ranger tie-up is one of three joint projects the two companies have announced, with Ford also set to lead the one-tonne van series that will spawn replacements for Transporter and Transit.
Volkswagen, in turn, will donate the new Caddy’s underpinnings for the compact van project that will end up as the next Ford Transit Connect.
The latter vehicles will be built in Poland from later this year.
Volkswagen says the successors for the passenger versions of the current 6.1 model range, such as the Caravelle, will remain VW-developed products.
“The partnership with Ford is designed for the long term and the contracts that have now been signed are for me the proof that we are successfully implementing our plan step by step,” Sedran said.
While Ford will be leading most of the commercial vehicle projects, it will in turn benefit from the use of Volkswagen’s MEB electric car platform, starting with a new electric vehicle for Europe from 2023.
The two companies will also collaborate in self-driving technology through a multi-billion dollar investment in the autonomous vehicle platform Argo AI, so each manufacturer can independently integrate the company’s self-driving system into their own vehicles that will be rolled out in the US and Europe.
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