Volkswagen Is Actively Looking for Ways to Sell a Midsize Pickup Truck in America: Report
Whether it be through its partnership with Ford or an entirely in-house project, VW reportedly wants in on the ever-fattening cash cow.
The Volkswagen brand has been unusually vocal about its consideration to bring a pickup truck to the United States. Perhaps more surprising is the idea that the plan is coming closer to fruition. Recently, Scott Keogh, Volkswagen Group of America's CEO, has begun to open up about the brand's strategy to bring a pickup to U.S. driveways—just don't expect it to happen overnight.
Presently, Volkswagen does not have any official plans on releasing a truck in the U.S. market, despite having shown its Tarok pickup concept at the New York International Auto Show two years in a row. However, that could change rather abruptly. Global CEO Herbert Diess has previously relinquished decision making power for a pickup in the U.S. market to Keogh, a move made alongside the automaker's pact with Ford which conveniently enables the company to build Ranger-based pickups for South America.
Keogh says that this leaves the brand with three logical choices to consider if the automaker were to bring a pickup to the States:
- Homologate one of its brand new Ranger-based pickups for the U.S. market. Presently, this option has been reserved for other worldwide markets but would be the quickest way for the automaker to bring a vehicle to market.
- Develop a large pickup similar to the Tanok concept, though it would create challenges in an already Ford-dominated market space.
- Use the robust MQB platform to build a small-segment, light duty, unibody pickup.
Most likely, the last option would be Volkswagen's most desirable. In fact, Keogh sees entry into the small-segment pickup market through a hole created by other manufacturers which have neglected small pickups in favor of putting pressure on full-size competition.
"The theory is quite straightforward," says Keogh. "[The Tarok is] an A-segment sized vehicle. There's no pickup truck in the U.S. market that is quite that size at all."
While some individuals may have reservations about sacrificing the benefits and size of a traditional body-on-frame pickup for a unibody application, Keogh downplays the doubt. The market that Volkswagen appears to be aiming for isn't the avid work truck driver but, instead, the person who only occasionally uses their vehicle to do pickup things.
"The positioning could be, when you extend the bed, in terms of what you can do with the second row, plus what you can do with the tailgate itself, you basically get the length of a B-segment pickup," Keogh continued. "So we kind of like this application where you have the everyday size of an A-segment in terms of parking and driveability and fuel economy—all those types of things—and for the four or five percent of the time that you engage it in a lifestyle, smart packaging to bring to the vehicle."
Although there is still much to be considered for a Volkswagen-branded pickup in the U.S., it feels that the automaker is really pulling together a plan to make it happen sometime in the near future. Keogh's comments seem like VW is ready to roll the dice; potential buyers can just sit back and watch in anticipation.