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Volkswagen won’t be competing in the 2012 Dakar Rally, but the company will still provide support vehicles to event organizers.
For the third year in a row, the company will provide 40 vehicles including 30 Amarok pickup trucks. Despite not competing, those trucks have to be tough enough to handle anything the course can throw at them— everything from canyon crawling to desert dune running.
Those attending the event can look forward to meeting some notable guests, like F1 legend Jacky Ickx who, won the Dakar in 1983 for Mercedes-Benz, will be giving off-road racing lessons.
The race starts at Mar del Palta, Argentina and runs just short of 5,600 miles through Chile to finish in Lima, Peru.
To highlight the launch and strength of the all new Volkswagen Amarok pickup, four of the trucks were used to demolish a 219 foot industrial chimney. The industrial building was in Reading, Berkshire, UK, and the trucks were attacked to the top of the chimney using a 650 foot length of rope. The 2.0 litre 4- cylinder engines managed to pull the chimeny down fairly swiftly.
Check out the video after the jump!
These days it seems everything costs more. When it comes to buying a new full-size truck, start being liberal with the options and before you know it, the sticker price is well north of $35,000, before taxes, freight and the rest of it. But compared to some parts of the world, we have it comparatively easy. In Europe, the concept of a full-size pickup is virtually non existent – instead manufacturers peddle what we would call compact or mid-size pickups, but frequently charge what we would consider full-size prices. Nissan sells the Navara (a localized Frontier), Toyota has the Hilux, Mitsubish has the L-series and Volkswagen has, well this:
The Volkswagen Amarok is priced at 26,203 Euros (given current rates of exchange that’s about $35,300), but this also includes the dreaded value added tax (VAT) on goods and services, which in Germany, is 19 percent.
But what kind of specification do you get for that price exactly? Well, a base crew cab truck, powered by a 122-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel engine, coupled with a six-speed manual transmission. At that price it’s also two-wheel drive only. If you want power transmitted to all four wheels, be prepared to spend another $2,500. And if it’s a proper 4×4 system with a transfer case, you want, then you’ll also need to upgraded to the twin-turbo 2.0-liter diesel engine, rated at 163-hp. And that extra 43-hp is expensive – try 30,844 Euros (equivalent to $41,530) by the time you’re done and that still includes a four-cylinder engine.
But here’s the real pincher. The Amarok comes in three trim levels; besides base there’s Trendline and Highline. These add power locks and windows (they’re not even available on the base truck), plus Highline models get 17-inch wheels, chrome exterior mirrors and two-tone paint. But the price of entry for all this? 37,169 Euros (equivalent to $50,050) for the Highline. As compact/midsize trucks go, that’s some serious coin, especially one with a four-cylinder engine.
By comparison, a stateside 2010 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab, in 4×2 V6 form starts at $23,675, before tax, title and registration. And even when you’ve added those you’ll still be well under $30,000.
So,the next time you’re visiting your local dealer and you balk at paying $35,000 for an F-150, Silverado or Tundra, spare a thought for our cousins across the pond. Especially when you consider that the Amarok is built in the New World (Pancheco, Argentina to be exact) and shipped across the Atlantic.