opportunity. The current HiLux is one of the oldest utes in the market and doesn’t match the five-star safety of key competitors such as the Ford Ranger, Mazda BT-50, Volkswagen Amarok, Holden Colorado and Isuzu D-Max.
This could be a problem on some sites, such as those owned by BHP Billiton, which says it wants employees to drive fivestar safety vehicles.
Volkswagen is boosting its HiLux challenge with special service centres in remote areas of Queensland and Western Australia near the big mines.
VWis especially keen to get its Amarok ute into the mine fleets, given it has just launched a new work-friendly single cab version. It now wants to make servicing the Amarok easier for the mining fleets, which would have previously had to travel further to have the work carried out.
VW’s plan includes service centres in the mine-friendly towns of Newman, Karratha and Broome in Western Australia as well as key locations in Queensland, although the company is not ready to disclose when they will open.
The company says it will be able to present a convincing case to mining-fleet operators, making the point that service costs of the Amarok are not necessarily higher than those of its competitors.
The Australian-made tray has fold-down sides, internal tie-down hooks and protectors for the tail-lights. Some fleets prefer automatic transmissions, though the Amarok single cab will be available only with a sixspeed manual transmission.
An eight-speed automatic has just been made available in the dual-cab variant.