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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Another Amarok First Drive

Some how I missed this article posted back in June on Canada MSN Autos.

Nice write up overall, the author hits on the major point stopping it from arriving in Canada, the much dreaded chicken tax. There were a couple of complaints that the author mentioned. The fact that it isn’t available in Canada was at the top of his list, he suggested calling all of our American friends and having them lobby Congress to get rid of the chicken tax. He also mentioned that Canadian competition was available with longer beds, perhaps he hasn’t seen the Amarok XXL, but I’m not certain if it is available in all markets. Finally he had comments on the cabin furnishings not being up to North American standards. The Amarok that I drove in Chile last summer was more than adequate as far as I was concerned, but perhaps not for everyone. However as the author pointed out, the Amarok will most likely see a refresh before we see it here on our shores.

Also notably there were a couple of comments from Thomas Tetzlaff.

VW Canada is “very interested in the vehicle, but the American ‘Chicken Tax’ makes its import Stateside very much a lost cause. Without the volume that could be generated by U.S. sales, the project costs are likely to make this a non-starter for us north of the border.”

Tetzlaff adds that VW Canada continues to evaluate the Amarok, “but I don’t want to create false hope.”

At this point with competition coming to the market, I will take an Amarok full of false hope, up until the day that I need to commit to a new vehicle.

Minor Update (28 October 2014): It was pointed out to me that the link above for the article no longer works. Not certain what happened to the article and I should have saved the author’s name. I will attempt to find the article and post a new link if possible.

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2015 Chevy Colorado (American Update)

So it looks like the American’s are a little bit ahead of us. If you go to chevrolet.com, you can find the Build Your Own feature for the 2015 Colorado available.

I did a quick check and the base price is $20,120 and a destination charge of $875, so the basic 4 cylinder with a 6 speed manual starts at under $21k. The other end of the scale for a crew cab with a long box, four wheel drive and the Z71 off road package brings the price to just over $35k. The prices for similarly equipped GMC Canyons should be just slightly higher, MRSP with destination charge for the base model is $21,880.

Hopefully we will get MRSP numbers for the Canadian models shortly, along with more information. I’m not going to look too seriously at one until the diesel becomes available in 2016.

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Stop 100

I recently became aware of the fact that the province of British Columbia has introduced a new maximum speed limit of 120 km/h for certain sections of divided highways. My native New Brunswick has had sections of divided highway at 110 km/h for approximately 15 years. So why do places like Ontario still have maximum speed limits of 100 km/h?

The first time I drove on the 401 in 1998, I simply followed along with traffic, everyone else was doing 130 km/h, so I just fell in with everyone else. Over all of my years of driving experience, I find that it is that one lone vehicle doing 85 km/h in a 100 zone that is the most dangerous. Everyone has to slow down, change lanes, move back, whereas if everyone was doing the same speed then there is a better flow.

The vast majority of drivers on highways like the 401 safely drive well above the posted speed limit on a regular basis.

There is an excellent video that Six7Films put together called “Speed Kills Your Pocketbook”, it is well worth the 15 minutes of your time. Available at the end of this post.

There is also another site, called stop100.ca, that is trying to raise awareness that we can safely increase the limits on Ontarian highways and it won’t result in the end of civilization.

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Nissan Frontier Diesel Prototype Drive Review

The writers over at Green Car Reports managed to get behind the wheel of a Nissan Frontier equipped with the same diesel that was in the concept vehicle shown at the 2014 Chicago Autoshow, their write-up can be found here.

The 2.8 litre diesel engine is supposed to have a 35% improvement on fuel economy over the comparable V6 gasoline engine. They noted that there were a few rough edges on truck as it is basically a normal Frontier with the diesel engine stuffed inside. The 2.8 litre diesel is paired up with an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission.

One of the complaints that was noted was that to get the most performance out of the engine that the turbo had to be kept spooled up by driving with a heavier than normal foot, fuel economy would suffer, but more of the power was available. The Volkswagen Amarok avoids this to some degree by having a bi-turbo design. One turbo for the lower portion of the power band and another for the upper range, over all the VW solution does a better job dealing with the problem of turbo lag.

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