It's an unusual tactic, but Volkswagen's new Amarok pickup will make its world debut at the 2010 Dakar Rally in Argentina.
No less than 36 examples of VW's new pickup will be actively involved in the race. Volkswagen itself is using one Amarok as a support vehicle for the five Touareg off-road racers it's entering into the event, and it's lending another 35 examples to the Dakar organizers itself. There, 20 trucks will be used to help stage the race, while another 15 Amaroks will be used primarily as press shuttles.
"We are pleased to be able to use the Volkswagen Amarok as our Support Vehicle," said Kris Nissen, director of Volkswagen's Motorsport operations. "The Dakar Rally demands the highest levels of technical perfection, reliability and endurance from our Race Touareg as much as from the support vehicles. The Amarok is exactly the right vehicle for our team."
Perhaps, but VW may not think it's the right vehicle for North America. Amarok production begins in South America early next year, and will launch in Europe shortly afterwards. At this point, a U.S. launch is still in the air.
Although we've yet to seen the finalized product, expect the production-ready Amarok to largely resemble Volkswagen's Pickup concept (shown above) from 2008.
The 2010 Dakar Rally runs January 1-17.