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Volkswagen Amarok Dakar Support Vehicle – Click above for high-res image gallery

The 2010 Dakar Rally, which is no longer run in Africa due to terrorism threats, kicked off from its designated starting point in Argentina on January 1st. Eventually, the competitors will end up back in Buenos Aires on January 17th, but not before traversing 5,600 miles of some of the toughest terrain on the planet.

This year, Volkswagen will be having a rather large presence at the Rally with four race-prepped Touareg SUVs taking part in the event along with 35 Amarok pickups that are acting as support vehicles. In the process, we imagine that the drivers will have plenty of opportunity to put the ridiculously named truck's electronic differential lock, Off-Road ABS, Hill Descent Assist, ESP Plus system and Hill Hold Assist to the test.

Volkswagen would like you to know that the Amarok will be available starting this September in the UK, but has given numerous indications that it won't be coming Stateside. Anyway, hit the jump for the press release and check out the high-res image gallery below of the truck gettin' its rally on.

[Source: Volkswagen]



Eight months before it arrives in the UK this September, the new Volkswagen pick-up, the Amarok, is demonstrating its power, durability and off-road performance by following the Volkswagen Motorsport team currently taking part in the gruelling Dakar rally across some of the toughest terrain in South America.

There are a total of 35 Volkswagen Amaroks being used as support vehicles by the Volkswagen team and the official organisers, ASO, throughout this year's 5,600 mile event. The Dakar rally started from Buenos Aires in Argentina on 1 January, and crosses the Andes to Antofagasta on the Pacific coast in Chile, before taking a more southern route to the finish back in Buenos Aires on 17 January.

The route includes navigating the vehicles along mountain passes at an altitude of more than 4,000 metres, as well as through the world's driest desert, the Atacama, exposing both the vehicles and their crews to extremely gruelling tests. Although not competing, the drivers of the Amarok support cars are still under constant pressure to keep up with or to get ahead of the competitors.

'We are thrilled to put the new Amarok through its paces as part of this long distance challenge, the world's toughest, before its official launch,' said Stephan Schaller, CEO of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

More details, images and videos of the new Amarok, as well as a daily blog from the Dakar rally is available from www.volkswagenamarok.co.uk.

Designed to tackle the toughest off-road terrain, the new Amarok is offered with an electronic differential lock (EDL) and Off-Road ABS to significantly shorten braking distances in off-road conditions or gravel roads. At speeds under 20 mph it also activates Hill Descent Assist to control hill descents while the ESP Plus system includes Hill Hold Assist which prevents the vehicle from rolling back by holding it in place on inclines until the driver presses the accelerator pedal.

The Amarok will be available as a four-door double cab version from launch with a single cab model to follow in 2011. It combines the robustness of a pick-up with innovative technology, high safety standards, excellent fuel economy and Volkswagen's renowned standards of comfort, quality and durability

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Instead of this Run-amuck, oops Amorak, they should make a Golf based diesel pickup with extended cab. I would love something small with an open bed as long as it could haul about 700-800 pounds. At the same time, it would get fantastic economy and could be used as a daily driver. Please just don't give it another stupid name like your other SUVs/trucks.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Cool looking, but the the last think I think of when I think VW is "tough"
        • 5 Years Ago
        brand perception ftl :)
      • 5 Years Ago
      these would sell in the states, mark my words. i am sure with the 2.0t they can out tow V6 rangers, dakotas and colorados...
      the vw also wins in "luxury", hands down, against all of those
      • 5 Years Ago
      I kinda like this truck, and I am not a big truck fan at all.
      I also think this thing would sell a lot better then the VW Touran minivan in the north American market. If they sold it with the option of a frugal clean diesel, they could sign me up...
      • 5 Years Ago
      "the ridiculously named truck" - only an American could write that.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If it weren't for VW's reliability issues (perceived or not), I'd rock a 2.0T to replace my Colorado.
      • 5 Years Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Volkswagen would like you to know that yet another of their cars won't be coming Stateside.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ehhh, I would rather have Mitsubishi Triton/Pajero over this. When it comes to serious AND reliable production car off-roading I would take Mitsu over VW any day.
        • 5 Years Ago
        but it looks like VW is positioned to out-do Mitsu in the Dakar.......
        not because they build a better consumer product..............just sayin'
        • 5 Years Ago
        @zamafir, well, to put it in perspective, Dakar Rally has been going on since 1979, so thats what, about 31 rallies, and Mitsubishi won 12 of those including 7 in a row from 2001-2007. During that time they beat such teams as Range Rover, Porsche, BMW, Volkswagen just to name a few. Anyway, I don't understand how come Mitsu didnt use that success in USA and use it as a marketing tool. It has been quite successful in most of Asia, Middle East, Africa, South America and Europe. But then again, here in USA we live in our own little universe. Ask an average American what a Dakar rally is and they will point towards the moon. Ask an average European/Asian or non-American and they know whats going on. To me Dakar is the most demandning and grueling motorsports even in the world. Mitsu has proven over and over again that they can hang with the very best without the huge budgets of BMW or VW.

        As far as whether the rally cars are not related to actual production cars, I'll tell you this, Mitsubishis most recent SAWC is a derivative (and learning process) of what The Dakar teams have been researching/designing/modifying for the past few years. Designs may not be completely from rally bred cars but there is a lot of input from there that goes into production cars.

        • 5 Years Ago
        "other hand how many times do they have to win Dakar Rally to make people in USA believe that they are capable of designing quality products."

        The two aren't related. If they were, Mitsubishi might want to have beat VW last year to prove they're better products. But that correlation doesn't exist, so loose loose as far as north american consumers are concerned.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Lorenzo, when it comes to production cars, I would definitely pick a Mitsubishi Pajero than a VW Touareg when I would be going on an Australian outback or any other remote/extreme region. As far as Dakar is concerned, actually Mitsubishi pulled out an official team last year, there are still couple of Mitsus running at this year Dakar but they don't have major funds/major sponsors like they used to. Mitsubishi pulled out mainly due to cut costs across the board, its a shame but on the other hand how many times do they have to win Dakar Rally to make people in USA believe that they are capable of designing quality products. Mitsu won Dakar like 12 times or something and at one point they won 7 straight. In my book VW has a loooong way to go to match them.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Will this ever be sold in North America?
      • 5 Years Ago
      maybe this thing should have external air bags as it's "duds" - for the Dakar Rally
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think these would sell very well if introduced in the US. Offer it with a diesel and market it towards the Subaru/Ranger crowd and it'd do well.
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