Volkswagen Is '100 Percent Investigating' a New Pickup for the US
If VW builds a pickup for the US, don't just expect a rebadged Ford Ranger.
German auto giant Volkswagen is again teasing the U.S. market with hints that it could build a pickup destined for American dealerships.
Recently, Volkswagen entered into an agreement with Ford which would enable the duo to share the costs and technologies associated with product development across the two brands. Ford would provide VW with knowledge from its Ranger and Transit lines in exchange for the Germans sharing the deep-rooted secrets of its long-successful Transporter vans.
One particular portion of the agreement, which proves to be particularly interesting for the Volkswagen brand's loyal followers, is the possibility of a new pickup under the German marque. You see, Ford has agreed to develop VW-branded trucks on the Ranger platform, but only for non-U.S. markets. A Ford spokesperson told The Drive in January that the agreement covered trucks destined for Europe, Africa, and South America only.
But nothing is set in stone. Volkswagen Global CEO Herbert Diess previously spoke about the decision making power of Scott Keogh, Volkswagen of America's newest CEO. It will be on Keogh's shoulders to determine if the product placement is right for the U.S. market—and it just might be.
"We think we are now, finally, with our SUVs, a mainstream manufacturer, but without a doubt, the biggest open space is pickup,” Keogh told CNET in an interview. "I think this is an opportunity for Volkswagen, if you look at how we position the brand we are capable of entering the pickup market with a car we're proud of."
Volkswagen prides itself into bringing something special to the table. Unlike the rebadged Routan minivan it released in 2009 (which shared a platform with the Dodge Grand Caravan), Volkswagen isn't ready to just slap a badge on a Ranger and call it a day. Instead, if the automaker chooses to pursue competing in the crowded U.S. pickup market, the brand recognizes that it must offer something unique.
For now, all future actions remain up in the air, but the niche market that Volkswagen can corner after being absent from trucks for so long might be larger than we think.