Volkswagen says it won’t make the same mistake as Mercedes and will work to make the next Amarok have “clear and genuine differentiation” from the Ranger on which it is based.

Speaking to, Michael Bartsch, managing director of VW Group Australia, said that the Amarok won’t be an X-Class. The Mercedes pickup is based on the Nissan Navaro, but was accused of being too evident a copy of the Nissan to be believable as a Mercedes.

Bartsch says that far from being a silent partner waiting for a chassis from Ford, VW was an integral part of the development process of the new pickup.

“When the initial project was launched in this cooperation between Ford and Volkswagen, there were some discussions in the infant stage of the project,” said Bartsch. “We made it very clear what the consumer expectations in Australia would be in terms of ensuring the product was a Volkswagen and the product was a Ford—that there was clear and genuine differentiation between the two beyond the bad old days of ‘badge engineering’.”

Australia is the second-largest Amarok market in the world, so its influence will be important. It’s still unclear whether or not the truck will be sold in America, though it seems unlikely.

Volkswagen of America’s prototypes have suggested that it is more interested in a lifestyle vehicle than a work truck. The Amarok is expected to get the same 7,700 lbs tow rating as the Ranger and VW may have limited control over the tech specs of the truck.

“Ford are the lead partner so in terms of what we can steer comes down to the elements within our control,” Ryan Davies, director of commercial vehicles for VW Australia, said. “We’re not going to be able to give a full summary of the specs of the car at this point in time. It’s more than just design involvement. We’re an integrated partner in this process.”