By on May 29, 2008

2cuxchkd8wz5tk_450×300.jpgAuto Motor und Sport's spy photographers spotted this near-production crew-cab version of Wolfsburg's global pickup undergoing street testing. Although VW has stayed true to its legacy of unnecessarily creative nomenclature, the "Robust" is a new day. First, it's a "real" VW, not a rebadged Toyota HiLux (i.e. the Taro which the Robust replaces). Second, VW won't be sending the Robust to America. VW's manufacturing the pickup in Germany, South Africa and Argentina aimed at the bounciest of developing-world roads. The engine offerings wouldn't have played well in Peoria anyway; the Robust will harbor four cylinders (gas and diesel) powerplants, with a V6 for "select markets." Volkswagen has threatened to take pickups seriously for some time. Aside from the infamous "Golfamino" of the 70's, the rebadged Toyota and a few over-the-top studies like the V10 diesel AAC concept, it's been all talk. The Robust's no-frills, (presumably) fuel efficient utilitarianism is a good place to start from scratch.

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10 Comments on “New VW “Robust” Pickup Spied...”

  • avatar

    Oh well. I guess it won’t be VW that cashes in on the USA’s need for a small pickup that gets 30 MPG highway.

  • avatar

    A 30mpg small pickup with a four banger would do well here. They are already doing the work to get their new diesel to meet US regs.

    I wonder how it crash tests?

  • avatar
    Sammy Hagar

    You know, if that pic didn’t have a German plate and Imbiss hut in it, I’d say you were screwing w/me.

    Seriously, that is a photo of the truck VW plans to build? Not very awesome, Ich glaube.

  • avatar

    Oh look, a 1986 Tacoma

  • avatar
    Edward Niedermeyer

    I dunno Sammy, it’s got a kind of Hannibal Lecter glare going on behind those camo covers. It definitely looks rugged.

    And I agree it would sell well here. If I’ve got it right, VW wants seventeen quadrillion US sales but it refuses to bring a South American produced, fuel -efficient light pickup here? What am I missing here?

  • avatar

    It wouldn’t be the first time VW missed a big opportunity

    Way back in the late 70’s when the air cooled VW microbus had to be replaced, there was a push by some in the company that the future of vans would be a two box, FWD design, a ‘minivan’. For VW this would be a similar switch as the Rabbit from the Beetle.

    But company execs ignored this idea, instead approving the evolutionary rear engine, water boxer Vanagon design in 1980 which went on to sell basically nothing.

    It was left to Chrysler to come out with the minivan Voyager/Caravan in 1984, sell millions, revolutionize van design, etc.

  • avatar

    I think it looks good… like a pickup should. It has a get to business air about it. A true pickup should be workman white with a grey rubberized hose-down interior.

  • avatar

    What they really need is a Kubelwagen.

    They could steal sales from all the cute utes, and even jeep with one of those babies.

  • avatar

    VW likes missing opportunities in the US. They’ve become experts at it. Why else do you think it took them so long to come up with the Touareg, Tiguan, and Routan? I can’t wait to see the Routan and Tiguan sales numbers after they’ve been available for a while. It should be entertaining. Only VW would sell a “small” SUV that gets 24 MPG and requires premium unleaded.

    A VW pickup might come to the US, but it’ll probably be powered by a thirsty V8 and arrive in 2015 when oil is in the $250/barrel range.

  • avatar

    Remember, VW is headed by German auto executives. German executives, especially those who have engineering experience, can do no wrong. I don’t think the higher-ups and VW have been told, would be willing to admit, or could even understand that there’s a possibility they might be wrong.

    Not a slight on Germans as a whole, but their corporate culture is as arrogant as America’s is spineless.

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