Volkswagen and Ford recently confirmed the latter would “engineer and build” bakkies “for both companies” as part of a new global alliance. And that has led to fresh speculation the next-generation Amarok may well be built right here in South Africa.

The current Ranger, of course, is produced at the Blue Oval brand’s Silverton assembly plant in Pretoria. And if Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa retains the contract to built the Ranger when its next generation rolls round, there’s every chance – as German publication Handelsblatt points out – that the new Amarok would be built alongside it.

Ford invested more than R3-billion in its SA local operations for the launch of the current Ranger in 2011, servicing South African buyers and exporting to more than 148 markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In 2017, a further R3-billion investment was made to expand production capacity to meet growing worldwide demand. The 500 000th Ranger rolled off the factory's assembly line in August 2018.

Under the new alliance, Ford will furthermore engineer and build “larger commercial vans for European customers” for both firms, while Volkswagen will “develop and build a city van” (we suspect this will serve as the next-generation Volkswagen Caddy and Ford Transit Connect).

Meanwhile, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles CEO Thomas Sedran told Automotive News Europe that "clear decisions" on production locations had yet to be made.

That said, Sedran added “the more production we have in the low-cost countries the better”, before singling out Turkey and Poland as “very competitive” sites specifically for van production (Ford has a factory in Turkey while VW runs a plant in Poland).

For the record, the Ranger is currently also made in Thailand, while production of a US-spec version of the bakkie began in Michigan in 2018. The Amarok, meanwhile, is currently made in Hanover, although Handelsblatt reports the latter’s production will cease by 2022.