The VW Amarok in action. Photo Courtesy of VWVans.UK

Volkswagen aggressively targeting Toyota's light truck market in Latin America

Volkswagen has designs on the small but rapidly growing Latin American market for light commercial vehicles, such as light trucks and commercial vans in Central and South America as well as the nations of the Caribbean.

From the Volkswagen Auto Group's Latin American headquarters in Miami, the German auto giant is planning the conquest of the lower latitudes south of the U.S. border, according to a recent post on MiamiHerald.com by Joseph A. Mann Jr.

“Toyota has been the owner of the light commercial vehicle market in Latin America for many years, but we are making a major effort to gain market share,” reportedly stated Fernando Badia, vice president of operations at the site, in charge of efforts to encroach on the territory of its Asian and American competitors.

This fearless charge into the valley of sales is lead by Volkswagen’s four-door, diesel-powered Amarok pick-up truck, considered a competent combatant in the scrimmage for market share against Toyota’s Hilux pick-up.

The various models of the Hilux are not available in the U.S. but sell well in South and Central America. However, the pick-ups were once sold in the U.S. under different names, but nothing the company sells in the U.S. today has any DNA from the Hilux series.

In Latin America Toyota also sells the HiAce, which can be configured as a minivan, commercial van, pick-up, taxi or ambulance, along with 4runners and RAV4 models. Toyota sold 101,000 light trucks, in the countries VW is currently targeting, during 2011 not including SUVs.

VW is also sending four other light commercial vehicles into the fray – in the form of the T5 van, the bigger Crafter commercial van, the Touran-derived Caddy and the smaller Gol-based Saveiro.

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