By on March 19, 2015

2014-volkswagen-amarok-canyon-front-three-quarter-view-1

Long ago, Volkswagen once sold (non-Chrysler) vans, utes and trucks in the United States. Those days may come again.

According to Bloomberg, VW North America light commercial vehicle boss Eckhard Scholz said the automaker was looking into bringing a van and/or a pickup into the U.S. market to help bolster its overall range, as well as drive more sales on its way to catching up — and one day, surpass — both Toyota and General Motors.

Potential models include the Amarok pickup, as well as the Caddy, Crafter and T5 vans and minibuses. VW’s global light commercial unit sold 445,000 models around the world last year, compared to the 366,970 models from the automaker’s USDM range over the same period. Overall global sales in 2014 came to over 10 million units.

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73 Comments on “Volkswagen Considering Trucks, Vans For US Market...”


  • avatar
    Hummer

    How long is that bed 3 ft?
    The front end is almost as bad as the new GM twins.

    Better yet, who wants to buy an unreliable pickup with expensive part costs?

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      *Sigh*

      Five seconds of Google confirm that the bed on a Double Cab Amarok is 1.55 m, or 5 feet. The same length as the short bed on the Colorado/Canyon, Tacoma, and Frontier. It only looks so short because of the tall sides and big fenders.

      A Single Cab version is available in some markets, with an 86″ (7’2″) bed.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Unless that tire is over a 38″, that simply doesn’t look correct.
        Or perhaps they’re counting the length with the tailgate down.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Bear in mind that the wheelbase of an Amarok is 122″. It’s the same length and width as American mid-sizers, but the rear overhang is much longer. Here’s a picture that (hopefully) illustrates that better than the one up top:
          http://preview.netcarshow.com/Volkswagen-Amarok-2011-800-46.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      LectroByte

      > Better yet, who wants to buy an unreliable pickup with expensive part costs?

      Some people just like having something different and out of the ordinary. Kinda like the folks who pick a Tahoe with a butch body kit on it over a regular Tahoe.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      I don’t believe any crew cab pickup today comes with more than a 5.5-foot bed in the base configuration any more. It’s really a pity but it’s more an indication of how interior size has become more important than bed capacity. You want a six-foot-plus bed you have to pay more and get a truck that won’t even fit in the average home’s garage.

      • 0 avatar
        Carilloskis

        Vulpine the
        Ram 1500 crew 4×2 trades man can be had with 6’4″ bed
        The Tacoma crew cab can be had with a 6’2″ bed
        Colorado/canyon crew 6’2″
        Silverado/sierra crew 6’5″
        f150 crew 6.5′ bed
        Frontier crew 6′ Bed
        Most pickup in the standard configurations (regular 8′ extended 6.5′ crew 5.5′. will not fit in a regular garage anyway. Crew cab half tons are a relatively new vehicle. ford came out with theirs in 01 GM and nissan04 Toyota 05 ram 09 for half tons.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          What’s a “regular” garage? The standard code is 12ft by 22ft minimum. Some say they have special variances in what turns out to be large tool sheds. For most, fullsize pickups won’t fit for all the junk they store and can’t get rid of. Get the truck and then you have a way to get your old junk to the dump. And a new place to park.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            My grandfather was a man of great foresight. In the days of 20′ long landbarges, he built both the garage on his house and on our house so that each stall could potentially hold a crew cab/6.5′ bed pickup (which didn’t really exist at the time, BTW) and still have 8 feet of space for a toolbench, bikes and whatever crap he saved.

            Even from beyond the grave, he still finds ways to irk us. Cleaning out his garage attic, we found every single cardboard egg carton he had ever bought for the past 45+ years, unfolded and stacked neatly in the corner. What…?

          • 0 avatar
            FormerFF

            My garage is 18 feet front to back, and that’s about standard for newer houses in the area. Pickups don’t generally fit.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Are 18′ garages attached to the house? They must be technically “tool sheds” to get away with it.

          • 0 avatar
            FormerFF

            I don’t know that code here has any restrictions on garage sizes. In addition to being 18 feet front to back, each car gets a space 115 inches wide, with an 8 foot door for each. It’s not enough to open the doors very wide, and makes DIY repairs really uncomfortable.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            UB Code everywhere has restrictions. And they’re all the same when it comes to this. Bet your front door is at least 36 by 80. Go check. Or it’s subpar. They unicorn dollhouse garage only comes up on Internet forums. Got pics/vids? Should be easy for you to load if you’re this deep into the ‘net.

          • 0 avatar

            We did this argument before. I provided links. Here is one more it explains how towns can pick and choose building codes and often do.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Model_building_code

            Not every town follows the same rules in the US. Some places have no rules at all. Chicago for instance has it’s own separate set of rules from every other building code in the country.

            One more link some home appraisers talking about garage sizes they have encountered.
            http://appraisersforum.com/forums/threads/minimum-size-to-be-considered-2-car-garage.85177/

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            This is similar to the misguided claims that some insist on making around here about automotive “standards.” It is wrong to presume that the existence of a guideline means that everyone follows it or applies it equally.

            The above post is correct. Building codes are a state, county and local matter. There are various standardized “uniform” and “universal” building codes, but one should not assume that that every place does the same thing.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Yes we did argue this before. You and the others claimed you had “regular” 7′ wide garage doors. Yet there isn’t a single home improvement chain that sells one. Now you’re not even mentioning those.

            You should go out and remeasure since you don’t know exactly what you have and just guessing. From your own link, many home owners modify their garage for larger living space.

            If you really have a “garage” too small for a Lincoln Town Car, that doesn’t seem to be a problem for 2+ million yearly fullsize pickup buyers. Maybe it’s just you.

            And I’ve yet to see a picture or vid of these mythical garages. Feel free to show one.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Again, DiM,
            Here’s a link. Anyway what would you know about building codes in the US? Remember you live in that apartment in Winnepeg, with dozens of pickups.

            You often use the word “code”, especially when you don’t have a clue.

            America the land of the free seems to have freedom in garage door sizes. Look at the Lowes link. Maybe Lowes isn’t a popular or common business?????

            Maybe they don’t have Lowes in Canada.

            http://www.lowes.com/Windows-Doors/Garage-Doors-Openers/Garage-Doors/_/N-1z11pnn/pl#!&N%5B%5D=1z11pnn&N%5B%5D=1z13abw

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @BAFO™ – That would be 7′ tall doors they’re selling. 8X7, 9X7, 16X7. See a pattern Dumbdumb?

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        Just buy a utility trailer for hauling building materials. No worries about scratches and lower floor making it easier to load. Oh – and bonus – you don’t even need the pickup truck – you can even tow the trailer with what you already have in your driveway.

        That said – I like the Amarok. Not as huge looking as some of the other crew cabs. The shorter wheelbase means it’ll turn around in a space smaller than Kansas.

  • avatar

    One of the huge problems that VW has to overcome is the PERCEPTION of poor reliability, expensive repairs and sub-par customer service. On the truck side of things US buyers tend to be the “Born in the USA” crowd, so whilst the Japanese have PERCEIVED reliability to counterbalance this, VW does not. On the Ute side of things I see more hope as there is a dearth of these models in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      Carilloskis

      I don’t know if you’d call Nissan’s Titan reliable, and most tundra owners I know are first time truck buyers. Or had older domestics ( you cannot compare a 90s domestic to a current domestic or import pickup. One of my co workers had a 2010 tundra that kept eating cv joints. I would say that the domestics (f series and silvarado/ sierra) are probably the most reliable. The imports Ram tundra and Titan I’d say the tundra is the most reliable but most who buy it are buying a car not a truck. Where as countless fleet customers buy ford GM and even some ram trucks. Why do they buy these? It’s because they need to take into account total cost of ownership of the vehicle. It’s still cheaper to run a ford or chevy and they have to be reliable as to not affect their owners bottom line. As assets in the shop aren’t making you money.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        I’ve talked to multiple Tundra owners and one of the things they most praise is their reliability. One told me his ’04 hasn’t cost him a single cent outside of routine maintenance while none of them have told me they had significant or recurring problems. Toyota’s “perceived” reliability appears to be quite real.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

          That’s funny, Ive seen and heard the exact opposite. Guy I know bought a Tundra about 3-4 years ago. It was constantly being towed to the shop and left him stranded several times (I know at least twice, as I had to go fetch him on the side of the road twice). He traded it in on a new F-150 after owning it a whopping 9 months. So far, he tells me the F-150 has been to the dealership once: for the first complementry oil change.

          Then again, he uses his truck as an actual truck, frequently taking it off road (he manages large timber sales as part of his job, and must meet the logging contractors on site via primative logging trails), hauling and towing. You rarely see his truck without mud splashed all over it and/or with a load of building materials either in the bed or on a trailer. The only time I see his truck clean is when he uses it to take his family and their boat to the lake.

          If you use a Tundra to commute to your office job in the city, where the roughest terrain it encounters are bridge expansion joints or maybe a gravel driveway, then Im sure its just as reliable as a Corolla (because youre basically using it just exactly as you would a Corolla). If you expect to use the truck for work and/or to go off road, shop elsewhere. Rumor is, even the Titan holds its own better than the Tundra when the going gets rough.

          Dont believe me? Go to any large construction site and tell me how many Tundras you see being worked (not just commuting duty) compared to Ford, GM and Ram trucks. Ill wait.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            “My anecdotal evidence is better than your anecdotal evidence!”

            I’ll offer my anecdotal evidence: All full-size trucks are reliable enough for commercial/fleet usage, but Nissan gets the thumb because they don’t have a RCLB model (yet), Toyota because the fleet manager is a cheapskate who doesn’t believe the Toyota Tax is worth it, and Ford gets the contract because they’re willing/able to take the lowest possible rate.

          • 0 avatar

            http://www.truedelta.com/Toyota-Tundra/reliability-278/vs-F-150-87

            Tundra does quite a bit better than the F150

          • 0 avatar

            The Tundra uses several 4wd components from the Land Cruiser I find it hard to believe it is any worse offroad then any of the other 1/2 ton trucks out there.

            For the record not a Tundra fan (it’s too Ugly)

        • 0 avatar
          Jimal

          My plumber is on his second Tundra and third full-size Toyota after his T-100 and first Tundra were both replaced by Toyota because of frame rot. Why stick with Toyota? Essentially free truck, that is why. And that is Toyota “quality”.

      • 0 avatar
        bosozoku

        “The imports Ram tundra and Titan”

        All three are assembled in the United States of majority US parts. hese vehicles are no more imports than their GM/Ford counterparts.

        • 0 avatar
          InterstateNomad

          Right on Bosozoku.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          bosozoku – most people tend to view flag of head office as the definition of import.

          With that being said, if one looks at soil the factory sits upon then all 3 1/2 tons mentioned(Tundra, Ram, Nissan) are domestic just like GM, and Ford.

          If flag of head office matters then Ford and GM are the only “domestics” left.

          If one were to look at HD pickups then that would mean only Ford and GM are domestic as Ram HD’s are assembled in Mexico.

          To muddy the waters further, anything that is covered under NAFTA counts as domestic.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Lou_BC,
            I find what you are stating to be true. Why do Americans call a locally or NAFTA made product an import?

            The Tundra is one of the most American pickups around.

          • 0 avatar
            joeaverage

            Just count how many Americans each truck factory (and supply chain) employs. There is your metric for ‘Murican-ness. ;)

            Can’t count where the profits go b/c all these companies are corporations and therefore their stock can be owned by anyone anywhere in the world.

            Just having fun making it more complicated.

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        i want to make sure I’m clear about this. You seem to imply that people who don’t know any better (first time buyers) pick the Tundra and once they’ve been enlightened they choose a domestic truck.

        Based on the people I know, they choose the Tundra and for that matter the Tacoma because it does what they need it to and it’s been reliable. Many of these people, especially those driving Tundras, have come from domestic trucks, went Toyota and and don’t plan to return.

        Absent something like a Raptor, my choice would be a Tundra Crew Max. Yes, the domestic trucks are good and in some ways better than the Tundra, but the Tundra is still appealing. At least to me.

        • 0 avatar
          Mandalorian

          Domestic trucks are not paragons of reliability. Ask any owner of the last gen Ram how many issues they had.

          • 0 avatar
            Carilloskis

            Chrysler is a division of FCA. Just like Toyota North America is a division of Toyota. Or Nissan Usa. Is part of nissan motor company. Ram also has really low domestic parts content compared to the other makes and makes a lot of their trucks in Mexico. I would not consider them domestic any more. The tundra is more american than the ram. Ford has the highest NA parys content followed by Toyota.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Statistically the F150 was on par with the Tundra for several years. The ecoboost line and MyTouch moved them down the pack but things are improving. The Tundra is no longer in the Top 3 for JD Power either. The last few years the GMT900’s and Avalanche have been top 3 for 1/2 tons. The Titan has never hit top 3 and surprisingly enough Ram 1500 finally made top 3 with the 2012 Ram 1500.

            If one looks at HD’s the Gm siblings are perennial Top 2 with Ford always in the middle and Ram HD (even with Cummins) always in 3rd.

          • 0 avatar
            Carilloskis

            @Lou BC I don’t particularly trust JD Power on a lot of those things having managed a vehicle fleet of 1400 vehicles i know that the Fords and GM HDs are statistically the same despite having a large number of 6.0 power strokes in the fleet. I also know that what i use a truck for the GM 900s don’t cut it. They may be more reliable if driven just on the road but they don’t hold up at all in the dirt. The sad fact is to go where a stock 4×4 gmat 400 did you cannot take a gmt 900 or newer there without damaging the vehicle.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Carilloskis – fleet use tends to be different than JD Power or Consumer Reports clientele that is for sure.
            My brother’s company had a bunch of GMT900 1/2 tons and they did not hold up well. All of their HD’s are now gasser Chevies and all of the 1/2 tons are Ford. That seems to be a better mix. The redesigned GM HD’s have better interiors and fit and finish.

            I don’t see many fleets going with Dodge Ram trucks. I see some fleet HD’s around and have only ever seen one fleet spec Ram 1500 in use and that was a reg cab short box 4×2.
            There is one company that has an interesting fleet mix. All of the HD’s are Ford and the rest are a mix of Tacoma’s and assorted 1/2 tons – Ford, GM, Tundra.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Pickup trucks are insanely reliable. Whatcha talking about? Especially when you don’t get the diesel. Past Power Strokes mainly.

          Recalls? Meh. Nav/Bluetooth not syncing with your phone? Who cares?

          They’re built, or overbuilt to commercial, beat to death standards. For most personal uses, pickup trucks have way overkill reliability.

      • 0 avatar
        TOTitan

        I have an 04 Titan that I purchased new. Eleven years and 150,000 miles later I have replaced the tires and battery twice, upgraded the front brakes to the 14″, and installed airbags so I can carry up to 3000 lb loads. Thats it…..no repairs, no rattles, no oil consumption, and the truck is used for towing and hauling only. If that is not reliable then I dont know what is.

  • avatar
    Onus

    What i find hilarious is the Chicken Tax was literally made to stop VW from selling these products here. I guess it has come full circle.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @Onus,
      The TPP is having some stumbles at the moment. The TPP is a trans Pacific trade pact.

      The US isn’t doing so well with it’s demands. The chicken tax is one of the sticking points, and so the US pharmaceuticals, oh, we can’t forget the farmers.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Maybe VW can dodge the ‘tax by sending it here without the back bumper or the cargo bed installed much like the Japanese companies did. I think Ford is doing something with the little Transit Connect where they send it here as a passenger vehicle (rear seats) and then remove that – and sent the components back to be installed again?

  • avatar
    usedtolikeBMW

    Trucks? Vans?

    You get the impression at every division head in Wolfsburg is putting together powerpoint presentations with “new ideas” for how to turn around US sales.

    But it’s profoundly odd that the company isn’t actually rushing out some new product that isn’t sluggish jettas and passats. Boring as they are, where the hell are the new crossovers?

    • 0 avatar

      that slide fell on the floor during the presentation

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      The truck market will be hard for them to break into. The market for small trucks is just that, pretty small, and low margin. It already has strong players and recently got more with the GM twins. The selection of commercial vans has exploded in the US in recent years as well. I’m not sure how much room there will be for VW who won’t be able to cater to fleet customers as well as Detroit 3 makers can.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    VW, you’re barking up the wrong tree again. You need competitive crossovers, not niche market utes.

    • 0 avatar
      SqueakyVue

      If their not going to focus on crossover they should at least add some ground clearance and awd to one of their many hatchback/wagons. Investing in pickup and van design is not going to help their sales.

  • avatar
    oldowl

    I had a 1965 VW Microbus. It was grossly underpowered, horribly unsafe…and fun. When I sold it Flower Children with cash were still around, so it cost me next to nothing to own. I’m way past wanting another one, but from time to time VW has teased an updated replacement. Give me a flower and I’ll stick it in the barrel of the exhaust.

  • avatar
    EquipmentJunkie

    The Amarok that I sat in at a trade show in Munich was perfect. It was a regular cab working truck with a TDI and 6-spd. manual gearbox sporting a 3-way dump bed for under 31K Euro excluding VAT. I’d be all over it. The new Chevrolet Colorado is very close to hitting the Amarok’s mark, in my opinion.

    I am not confident that VW could market the Amarok properly over here. They need to demonstrate that they can provide competitive cross-overs and sedans first.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I do like reading some of the comments from our US friends. Especially regarding vehicles they have no knowledge of.

    The comment that I find most entertaining is by some person describing the bed as 3ft long. The same person doesn’t even know why skid plates are used in lieu of a spare on 4x4s. And his tag is that of a 4×4, makes you wonder about these armchair commenters.

    The VW Amarok was released in 2011. It is VW’s first attempt at producing a midsizer for the global market.

    I have actually driven one and they are the best driving midsizer around.

    I have yet to hear about any reliability issues. There would of course be some issues, undoubtedly.

    Here in Australia they come with a twin turbo 2 litre diesel and are returning around 34mpg (US) on the highway. The engines are around 330ftlb and 190hp.

    Personally I do think they are a very good looking ute. The frontend is handsome and stylish and doesn’t have one of those small d!ck syndrome big rig grilles.

    Our Amarok’s are manufactured in Argentina and sell reasonably well, especially since they have broken into our market, one of the most competitive market globally.

    VW have done a very good job with the Amarok.

    • 0 avatar
      formula m

      The front end is not attractive. The rest of the truck looks very nice but the front is horrible. Fat Albert from Oz was so excited to lead with his opinion of how North America knows nothing about Pickups from over there and feels the need to insult the masculinity of many people on here that are proud of their North American pickup truck. Thanks Al

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      A great place for a North American to get a feel for these Amaroks is YouTube. PLENTY of Amarok Ute videos posted from Australia with the pickups towing offroad and so forth.

      Always amazing to me that the rest of the world gets good service from all these brands that we Americans have declared to be lousy. Maybe it is the US dealer network? Maybe it is the North American only VW products i.e. the rest of the world VW products are made of better stuff?

  • avatar
    Slow_Joe_Crow

    I’d really like to see the Amarok and T5 in the US, the Crafter is just a badge engineered Sprinter so it seems pointless, and the Transit Connect and Promaster City pretty much kill the market for the Caddy.

  • avatar

    I am not sure of the significance, but I have seen three VW pickups on Chicago area expressways in the last two weeks. none with manufacturers plates, two with tdi badges and one without. all the same generic beige color.

    • 0 avatar
      Carilloskis

      Some manufactures that don’t use Michigan for their US/NA headquarters have their vehicles registered in states that don’t have manufacture plates, In October I stayed at a hotel in Denver that had several Test vehicles at it Some Ford Transits and GMC Sierras with Michigan Manufacture plates, but also at the same hotel where a Range Rover Sport, Rang Rover Long Wheel Base with Camo Wraps, and A heavily camouflaged jaguar, all right Hand drive and GB front plates but New Jersey Rear Plates. VW America is Headquartered in Virginia so one could assume that they would be using plates from that state, I also saw one on the road in Arizona going the opposite direction on I10 so I couldn’t tell what the plates where, at first I was like oh there goes an Amarok, then I did a double take to make sure I was seeing it, it could have been driven over the border from Mexico though.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    VW had said a long time ago that they would need to sell 100,000 Amarok’s per year in the USA to be profitable. Mexico would be the most likely place for a plant. IRRC the Amarok does not share its platform with anything else. That makes cost amortization more difficult.

    As @Onus has pointed out, tariffs will keep this truck from showing up but VW has other issues besides tariffs. They aren’t seen as reliable and economical.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @Denver Mike–Yes most newer homes have attached garages about 18′ deep. My garage is slightly deeper (not much) but it is a 3 car garage and I have plastic shelving in the front (the 3rd gives me room for lawn equipment and other things). Even if I took the shelving down it would be a close fit for a full size crew cab with a 5 foot bed. My crew cab Isuzu is a close fit with the shelves. The price of land has gone up and builders try to put as many houses on an acre that they can get by with even homes that are higher end. For most buyers of a crew cab a 5 foot bed is all they need since they are not going to haul large loads. For me an extended cab is enough because I hardly ever use the back seat of my crew cab.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @JeffS,
      It’s the same here in Australia. Governments are forcing smaller parcels of land. This reduces infrastructure costs.

      I’m currently in the process of buying a new home in Brisbane. It’s a 4 bedder, walkin robe, en suite/sh!tter, blah, blah, balh. It’s sits on a 450sq metre block. It’s almost like living in an apartment like DenverMike does in Winnepeg.

      The good thing going to be almost no mowing, etc. It’s almost none existent.

      The garage is 6m x 6m, or around 19.5′ square. I should fit my pickup in there, tightly.

  • avatar
    KevinC

    VWoA has proven time and again over the years that they could screw up a 1-car parade. They should go into full-on George Costanza mode, and whatever they decide they should do, do exactly the opposite – worked for George (for a while anyways) and absolutely would have served them better the past few decades. So – pass on this idea, and start thinking that Americans hate CUVs, so that you’ll take opposite action.

  • avatar

    Illinois had MFG plates, each company has a specific number. The trucks I saw all had normal Illinois B plates, which is normal for light duty trucks under a certain weight. Thats what I found unusual. Even Alfa, when they were testing the 164 here years ago, used MFG plates. Maybe they were purchased in Mexico and NAFTAed in?

  • avatar
    stuki

    This goes some ways towards confirming my suspicion that VWs strategy for becoming a volume player in North America, revolves around resigning themselves to selling one copy of each model they make; while making up for it in sheer number of also-ran models they sell.

  • avatar
    baconator

    I’m looking at the Volkswagen Careers site, but I can’t find the product planning department postings. Which is a shame, because I’m certain that team needs some fresh thinking.

    https://vwgoa.taleo.net/careersection/college/jobsearch.ftl?lang=en

  • avatar
    Jimal

    1. I would buy an Amarok in a second. I’m a long-time VW guy and have pined for that thing since I first saw pictures of it.

    2. This is what VW needs to do; get into segments they are currently not in, and more importantly, aren’t likely to be cross-shopped with other models in a VW showroom. Look at how many different models Nissan has. Volkswagen should try and emulate that, if for no other reason than they are a big enough company to do so. Whether you sell a lot of a few different models or a few of a wide variety of models, the end result is more sales.

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