A mid-sized pickup from Mercedes that we probably can’t have either

So news, here and here, is surfacing this morning that Mercedes may be looking at building a mid-sized pickup truck for roughly 2020.

The interesting things from the article on PickupTrucks.com is that the US will be producing commercial vans in the US in the near future. Also currently Mercedes builds vans for the US market in Germany, disassembles them, ships the pieces to the US and re-assembles them. Perhaps they might do the same thing with a pickup.

Time will tell

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VW Explores Vans and Pickups to Broaden U.S. Customer Appeal

I took the headline directly from the first article that came out recently as a result of a press conference held in Hannover, Germany.

When I saw this last week while I was on vacation, I immediately emailed the author, Christoph Rauwald from Bloomberg Business, who was in Hannover and asked the obvious question, “How will VW avoid the Chicken Tax?” His response was that he asked VW exactly that. However they didn’t want to comment, they were still examining options and that there was no decision yet.

I waited a few days before posting this, hoping that more information might come out, but nothing concrete has. An article on Jalopnik, indicates that VW has plenty of manufacturing capability in North America and that this might be how they get around the Chicken Tax.

However for the moment, there is nothing new, just more rumours. If you hear anything, please drop me an email.

 

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VW’s Autostadt in Wolfsburg, Germany

The reader who indicated he was going to Germany a couple of weeks ago sent along some photos from the Autostadt confidence track. He didn’t provide a lot of details, other than to say that it was a good day to get out on the autobahn and see where his rented car would just not go any faster, apparently 179 km/h was the magic number.

He indicated that the Amarok was quite capable on the track, but it was a rather limited course, it would have been nice to have had the time to go around a couple of times. The course had a water obstacle, several hill climbs, a boulder crawl, a curve to experience the side slope capabilities, a balance bridge and a wire bridge.

He also indicated that none of the few people that he talked to had any idea of a Canadian Availability date either.

3wheeler bridge Untitled

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Blog Update

Hello Readers

There hasn’t been much news recently about the Amarok as it pertains to Canada and what little news that I have found is depressing. There was an article posted on Driving.ca, that talked about the return of compact pickups. The author reached out to Thomas Tetzlaff of VW Canada to comment on why the Amarok isn’t available in Canada.

Tetzlaff indicated that current government regulations make the introduction not feasible. Other than the Chicken Tax south of the border, what regulations play into this? If you know feel free to drop me a line.

I corresponded with a reader who wanted to know if I had any knowledge of the Autostadt in Germany. Other than knowing that it is possible to take an Amarok around the track there, I know very little. He indicated that he was going to be in Germany later this month and would try to get out in an Amarok and send along some photos.

For the moment, there may not be too many updates unless something changes in the market. I will keep the blog open for the next few months, but unless something changes I do not see any benefit in keeping it open long term.

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Off-Road Ambulances

Matt Hardigree over on Jalopnik started a thread on off road ambulances. I have to say that there are some pretty cool looking ambulances in the comments on the thread, but I liked that fact that he started the thread with a Volkswagen Amarok based ambulance from WAS.

I googled “WAS off road ambulance” and I was not disappointed, their All Terrain Ambulance looks to be well equipped, considering that it as to potentially go off road.

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2015 Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon in Ottawa

On the weekend I had the opportunity to check out a local GM dealership and drive by a second, both had the new mid-sized trucks in stock. In fact the dealership that I went to on Saturday had one sitting out front with the keys in the ignition and nobody around it. Almost couldn’t resist an impromptu road test.

I had a quick look at the outside and it is close to the size of the Amarok that I drove last year in Chile. Overall it looks like a capable enough pickup truck. I will have to try to get into a dealership sometime in the next couple of weeks and see if I can get one out for a test drive.

Still waiting for a couple of things, an Amarok or one of these mid-sized offerings with a diesel engine.

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Amarok Trademark

It was pointed out to me a while ago by reader Chris that Volkswagen Canada had applied for a trademark on the use of “Amarok” as it applied to vehicles, including models and toys. It was initially filed back in 2007. Periodically I would re-check the listing because it didn’t look to be a full trademark. I am not a lawyer so I don’t know all of the finer points when it comes to trademark law.

I’ve been watching since late 2012 and every few months I would see that there would be an “Extension of Time” request filed that would push the date out by six months or so. The last one had an end date of 2014-10-29 unfortunately I was preparing for my Asia trip (which was completely devoid of Amaroks), so I forgot to check the Trademark database before I left.

I did that today, here is the listing if you want to check yourself. However the current status has changed, there is no longer an “Extension of Time” recorded, instead it indicates “Registered”. What does this mean? I have no idea, but hopefully we will know more soon. Summary of the Trademark database below for Amarok.

I have to admit that this excites me a little bit.

Canadian trade-mark data

Show
Third-Party Information Liability Disclaimer

The database was last updated on: 2014-11-18

APPLICATION NUMBER:
1347946 REGISTRATION NUMBER:
TMA887487
STATUS: REGISTERED
FILED:2007-05-11
FORMALIZED:2007-07-05
ADVERTISED:2011-01-12
REGISTERED:2014-10-06

REGISTRANT:
VOLKSWAGEN AKTIENGESELLSCHAFT
38436 Wolfsburg
GERMANY

REPRESENTATIVE FOR SERVICE:
SIM & MCBURNEY
330 UNIVERSITY AVENUE
6TH FLOOR
TORONTO
ONTARIO M5G 1R7

TRADE-MARK (Word):
AMAROK

INDEX HEADINGS:
AMAROK

WARES:
(1) Motor vehicles and their parts; engines for land vehicles; tires for vehicle wheels; rims for vehicle wheels, complete vehicle wheels and their parts for land vehicles.
(2) Scale model vehicles, especially scale model automobiles; playing cards; stuffed toy animals and other stuffed toys; stand alone video game machines, video games; motorized scooters (vehicles for children) and motorized automobiles for children (vehicles for children).

SERVICES:
(1) Retail and wholesale services concerning motor vehicles and their parts and fittings, especially via retail and wholesale outlets and via mail-order business; retail and wholesale services via mail-order business and via internet concerning motor vehicles and their parts and fittings; bringing together, but not transporting, a variety of motor vehicles and their parts and fittings for the benefit of others, thereby enabling customers to view and purchase the goods; negotiation of contracts for the benefit of others about sale and purchase of motor vehicles and their parts and fittings.
(2) Reconstruction, repair, servicing, dismantling, cleaning, maintenance and varnishing of vehicles and their parts and motors and their parts, including vehicle repair in the course of vehicle breakdown service; refinement and tuning of automobiles.

CLAIMS:
Priority Filing Date: November 13, 2006, Country: GERMANY, Application
No: 305 69 596.0 in association with the same kind of wares and in
association with the same kind of services.
Used in GERMANY.
Registered in or for GERMANY on April 04, 2007 under No. 306 69 596.

Action Information
ACTION    DATE    BF    COMMENTS
Filed    2007-05-11
Created    2007-05-18
Formalized    2007-07-05
Search Recorded    2007-11-13
Examiner’s First Report    2007-11-13    2008-03-13
Correspondence Created    2008-03-06    2008-09-13
Extension of Time    2008-09-23    2009-03-13    Request Letter Date: 2008/09/04
Extension of Time    2009-03-06    2009-09-13    Request Letter Date: 2009/03/02
Extension of Time    2009-09-08    2010-03-13    Request Letter Date: 2009/08/19
Correspondence Created    2010-04-08    2010-10-08
Approval Notice Sent    2010-11-05    2010-12-03
Approved    2010-12-23        APPROVED BY PROGRAM EX200M1
Extracted for Advertisement    2011-01-07        Vol.58 Issue 2933 2011/01/12
Advertised    2011-01-12        Vol.58 Issue 2933
Allowed    2011-04-29
Allowance Notice Sent    2011-04-29    2011-10-29
Extension of Time    2011-11-03    2012-04-29    Request Letter Date: 2011/10/27
Extension of Time    2012-05-07    2012-10-29    Request Letter Date: 2012/04/30
Extension of Time    2012-10-30    2013-04-29    Request Letter Date: 2012/10/23
Extension of Time    2013-04-22    2013-10-29    Request Letter Date: 2013/04/16
Extension of Time    2013-10-23    2014-04-29    Online Request Date: 2013/10/23
Extension of Time    2014-04-29    2014-10-29    Online Request Date: 2014/04/29
Registered    2014-10-06

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Shanghai

I walked about 19km today exploring this city, I tried to keep an eye out looking for Amarok’s, but I didn’t see any. VWs are rather common here though. If I were to count all of the vehicles that I actually recognized the brand of, I would say that at least half of them were members of the VW family. I’m not certain that I have seen a non-VW taxi.

I’m certain that there are traffic laws here and that they apply to the majority of road users, but after walking around for a while, I’m not so certain. There are lots of electric bikes/scooters here, there has to be some sort of reason that very few of them run with any lights on, maybe it saves power and increases the range. On the other hand running without lights, in the dark, going the wrong way on one way streets, would in my mind only shorten the life expectancy of both the operator and bike. From what I can tell, helmets are completely optional, lights optional, horn mandatory, multiple passengers and precariously balanced cargo are also mandatory.

Pretty much every vehicle is sounding their horn pretty much constantly if there is another vehicle in their vicinity. Flashing of the high beams is also another requirement. I saw things today that would result in road rage and a good beating in North America, but here it is all just part of the process of getting around.

I had briefly considered the idea of renting a vehicle and going for a drive, but in reality I don’t think my sanity would survive. I would take it too personally when I would inevitably get honked at. I think I’ll just take a day and explore the city a bit further and maybe find someplace to have a few beer.

 

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Singapore

This week I find myself in Singapore, whenever I travel outside of Canada and the US, I always keep an eye out for Amaroks. On the first day here I went for a nice long walk and saw various vehicles, but no Amaroks. I spoke to some locals and expats that told me that the cost of vehicle ownership was artificially high to encourage the use of public transit. I had used the public transit and taxis and both seem to get on quite well, but how expensive could owning a vehicle here really be?

I did some checking and decided to do a quick cost run down on owning a VW Golf GTI.

It appears that the Golf GTI has an Open Market Value (OMV) of approximately $34,000SGD (approximately $30,000CAD at the current rate as I write this). So far it doesn’t seem that bad, but we need to have a Certificate of Entitlement (COE) to own a vehicle in Singapore. The GTI has a 1984cc (2.0L) engine, so it is in the highest category and to obtain a COE it is basically a bidding war, because only a small number are made available each year. Bidding results from last month for this category would place the cost for the COE at roughly $70,000SGD, almost twice the cost of the vehicle. However it gets worse, because now you need to register that vehicle. The registration fee is $140SGD, some relief there, but wait there is still the Additional Registration Fee (ARF), I’ll spare you the details, but it is approximately $40,000SGD and finally the excise duty which is 20% of the OMV or approximately $7,000SGD. So add all of that up and that new VW Golf GTI would cost you $150,000SGD or $130,000CAD. Then you need insurance, road tolls, fuel, etc. I think I would just stick with the bus/train and take taxis as necessary.

So the next time you are going to complain about the high cost of vehicle ownership, just remember that things could be much worse.

I’m off to another city here in Asia next week, maybe I’ll see some Amaroks there.

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Volkswagen Tristar Concept

Another Volkswagen pickup that we will probably never see here in Canada.

World Car Fans were the first to report on the unveiling of the concept in Hanover.

Some of the details from the article, it was created to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the first Syncro concept and is based on the Transporter.

The article over at World Car Fans has some details from a VW press release. For the moment it appears that the concept is a design study. There are also more picture with the article.

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