America’s laws prevent enthusiasts from getting some exciting cars that have to stay in far-off lands for a couple of decades before we can pick them up. Yet, every once in a while a vehicle defies logic by finding its way in. A 2017 Volkswagen Amarok TDI came all of the way from Mexico to end up for sale in Michigan.
While Volkswagen sells more SUVs around the world than anyone can count or remember, its pickup game is small. If you want your Volkswagen to come with a bed for your mulch then you really have only one choice: the Amarok. However, if you live in the States then Volkswagen’s pickup is out of reach.
Instead, you’re stuck with ute conversions or an old Caddy pickup.
This 2017 Amarok is here and ready for you to spend $44,900 on. The selling dealership, Garage Kept Motors, tells me that the truck was imported from Mexico and the seller was able to register it in Michigan with Farm Plates. Thus, it has a clean Michigan title.
Under its hood is a 2.0-liter inline-four diesel with a single turbo. That’s good for 138 HP and 251 lb-ft torque. There’s an APR Stage 1 tune onboard, though it’s not stated what the power output is now.
This Amarok features selectable four-wheel drive with low range and for icing on the cake, it has a manual transmission.
We all know about the infamously terrible 25-year import rule and there’s no question that this almost five-year-old truck isn’t actually 25. So while it has a title, I was curious how it managed to get through Customs in the first place. Sadly, the story given to the dealership by the seller didn’t explain.
One way to import something younger than 25 is through the lengthy and expensive process of federalizing a car for our roads. Another would be to get a Show or Display exemption. But as an importer will note, an Amarok is not likely to be eligible for a Show or Display exemption:
In determining whether a vehicle is eligible for importation for show or display, NHTSA will consider the following factors, among others:
1. Whether a vehicle of the same make, model, and model year was manufactured and certified for sale in the United States.
2. Whether a vehicle of the same make, model, and model year has been determined eligible for importation pursuant to 49 CFR Part 593.
3. Whether the vehicle is currently in production.
4. Whether more than 500 of the vehicles were produced.
5. Whether the vehicle is a kit car, replica, or special construction vehicle.
If the answer to any of the above is affirmative, you should not expect NHTSA to grant permission for importation. If the answer to item 4 is affirmative, the applicant must establish that the vehicle is of exceptional technological and/or historical significance.
The last time we saw an Amarok in the States, we learned that it was imported by a German soldier who was stationed in the U.S. for training.
Indeed, you can temporarily import a vehicle if you’re in the military. Tourists can also drive their cars right across the border. I’ve seen a number of forbidden fruit Smarts for sale that were imported like this. Unfortunately, vehicles imported in this manner are not legal to be sold to someone living in the country. The cars are expected to go back home after a year.
This 2017 Amarok will set you back $44,900. Autoweek notes that these started at the equivalent of $24,600 in Mexico and topped out at $37,600, so it’ll cost you to have one of the only Amaroks in the States. Without some sort of documentation from the seller proving it’s here legally it would probably be wise to pass. Such a shame, because the Amarok is one cool truck.