In the lead up to this year’s Big Red Bash music festival on the fringe of the Simpson Desert, event sponsor Volkswagen Australia conducted one of their biggest and most customer-engaged test drive experiences ever, with 17 examples of the all-new dual cab ute driven to the Bash and beyond.
The Big Red Bash has been running since 2013, attracting tens of thousands of music lovers and adventurers to the annual event at the foot of the ‘Big Red’ sand dune outside of Birdsville that marks the eastern edge of the Simpson Desert,.
Ahead of this year’s Big Red Bash, which was held on 4-6 July, 17 examples of the all-new Amarok supplied by Volkswagen Australia were tested by 130 customers in what’s been described as Australia’s most remote test drive. Several vehicles in the fleet were equipped with the new range of Amarok accessories, including canopies, sports bars, rooftop tents and more.
Over the course of the three-day, 4,000km drive, the customer fleet crossed ‘Little Red’ – the sibling to the famous Big Red – and other remote areas en route to the Big Red Bash. Adding to the adventure, unseasonably wet conditions meant that more than ten of the Amaroks in the fleet had to endure road closures and just-reopened trails, covering more than 100km of mud before reaching the Bash.
The group started in Broken Hill, moving up through the Sturt National Park into Queensland along the Warry Gate Road to Eromanga and on to Windorah. The last stretch, on drenched and just-opened tracks from Windorah to Birdsville, saw the fleet stop off at the infamous Betoota Hotel, before tackling Little Red and enjoying the Big Red Bash.
For one customer, it was not only the world’s most remote test drive, but also arguably the world’s longest. After his own ute failed to proceed, Volkswagen Australia provided an Amarok for him to drive 2,077km back home to Sydney, making it a 6,000+km trip for that particular vehicle.
Nathan Johnson, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Marketing and Product National Manager, said the combination of the Amarok’s classic toughness, V6 power and iconic seats made the long journey to Birdsville a breeze.
“We wanted to show real Australians, families towing caravans and exploring the outback to the fullest, the depth of engineering in our Australian designed, second-generation Amarok,” Johnson said.
“The all-new Amarok is the direct result of taking Australians’ feedback on board and creating a ute born from the tough love delivered by our dual-cab ute-loving market.”
Australia is VW’s biggest market globally for the Amarok, with sales here peaking at 9,059 in 2018. With the new model imminent, compounded by supply issues, local sales fell to 4,515 in 2022, but with more than 2,500 pre-orders received ahead of the new Amarok’s release in May, Volkswagen Australia are confident sales can exceed 10,000 annually in the near future.