Tuesday 6 December 2016

Slow progress on 'recall' as Volkswagen ploughs on with the revised Amarok V6

Eddie Cunningham in Tullamore

Published 21/09/2016 | 02:30

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THE Volkswagen Group is making slow progress on fixing cars equipped with illicit engine software across Europe - and Ireland is no exception.

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Senior Irish figures told Motors this week that it could be two years before the 115,000 cars and vans have had the required software (1.2, 2.0 diesels) and software/hardware (1.6-litre) fixes applied.

According to German headquarters, under 10pc of the 8.5m models affected in Europe have been dealt with so far.

Meantime life and business goes on and on Monday, the day before the Ploughing started, we got to see and drive the revised Amarok (above) and especially the new 3-litre V6 diesel engine on the Tullamore site.

The V6 can develop 163bhp, 204bhp or 224bhp depending on the model. The 163bhp doesn't get here for a while and, anyway, I'd say the other two will catch the eye with their levels of power. The 224bhp has a whopping 550Nm of torque.

And towing capacity now ranges up to 3,500kg. Prices start from €31,268 excluding VAT.

With permanent all-wheel drive and Torsen differential as well as an 8spd auto gearbox, I (well the car) made light work of the specially-constructed course at the Ploughing.

Read More: Rivals now 'polluting' more than Volkswagen, study claims

Inside has been upgraded too as have the looks at the front but it is still the same size. There are 17in brake discs on the front axle of the 224HP version and 16in at the rear. The automatic Post-Collision Braking System is also standard.

There are three trim levels: Trendline, Comfortline and Highline with 18in alloys on the latter and Park Distance Control.

The Amarok's arrival begins a transformation of the brand's commercial range here over the next year. There will be a new Crafter van in three months, for example.

Overall, the van market has grown exponentially for some time but there has been so much catch-up that they are forecasting a 6pc increase in sales in 2017 as opposed to the double-digit rises that have marked the past few years.

Volkswagen are, nonetheless, eyeing 5,000+ sales within the next three years.

Many buyers - mostly owner/drivers - are now ordering much higher-spec in their vans. As well as that, one-third of VW commercials are on Personal Contract Plan (PCP) deals with total lending in that part of their business expected to reach €30m this year.

We couldn't let the occasion pass without asking about public reaction here to the emissions scandal over the past 12 months.

Alan Bateson, director of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles here, echoed what headquarters had announced: progress is slow in getting to fix the engines involved. People are not necessarily choosing to come in specifically for the software fix but are doing so when servicing is due.

He expects the first of the work (software/hardware) on the 1.6-litre Caddy van to start from November.

But it will be a couple of years, Bateson forecasts, before they get through the whole lot.

Irish Independent

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