Fiat Chrysler, Volkswagen in Talks About Joint Truck and Van Production: Report

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
fiat chrysler volkswagen in talks about joint truck and van production report

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the manufacturer currently at the center of rampant speculation over a possible Chinese buyout and a spin-off of its Italian luxury brands, is reportedly in early talks with Volkswagen over the joint production of certain light utility vehicles.

Volkswagen, which has made crystal clear it wants nothing to do with a merger, might have products the Italian-American automaker could find beneficial. Despite the awkward back-and-forth between FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne and VW Group chief Matthias Müller earlier this year, the German automaker didn’t rule out discussions with FCA.

According to a source close to the issue, the discussions include future versions of VW’s small commercial van and, interestingly, a midsize pickup truck.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, the source said talks are at an early stage. “It’s still very vague, we have to see if this will be pursued,” the source said.

While the extent of the potential joint venture isn’t known, the report claims VW’s Caddy panel van and Amarok pickup are sources of interest. FCA already has its own small van — the Ram ProMaster City, based on the Fiat Doblo. However, one product FCA lacks — in North America at least — is a midsize pickup.

With Ford introducing a Ranger for 2019 to battle the Toyota Tacoma, GMC Canyon/Chevrolet Colorado, Nissan Frontier, and Honda Ridgeline in the growing midsize segment, FCA remains the odd man out. Talk of a “baby Ram” has never amounted to much. The company does sell a midsize pickup overseas — the body-on-frame Fiat Fullback — but that vehicle is a Thailand-built, badge-engineered version of the Mitsubishi Triton/L200.

In Latin America, FCA sells the small, unibody Fiat Toro.

As we’ve seen with the Nissan Navara-based Mercedes-Benz X-Class, even luxury brands aren’t immune to badge engineering when a niche market needs filling. Still, any midsize pickup bound for North America would need its assembly to take place within those geographical confines, lest it be slapped with the dreaded chicken tax.

Volkswagen builds the Amarok in Argentina.

If either company were to begin Mexican assembly of the model, Ram might have the midsize pickup it needs to stay competitive in all truck segments. (Assuming, of course, that the ongoing North American Free Trade Agreement talks don’t result in an import tax on Mexican-made goods.)

Maybe it’s too early to begin pining for a Mexican-made, German-designed American truck.

[Image: Volkswagen]

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  • Ronnie Schreiber Ronnie Schreiber on Aug 25, 2017

    Ironic in light of the fact that Chrysler pretty much invented the midsize pickup truck with the Dodge Dakota.

    • See 1 previous
    • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Aug 27, 2017

      And Holden had the HQ 1 tonner in 1971 (?) It came with a 173/6 or 202/6 or the 253 or 308 V8.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Aug 26, 2017

    Yes the Dakota was the first true midsize pickup. After the Dakota most of the others grew to midsize and now are close to full size. The full size have grown as well and the average American has grown.

  • Aidian Holder I'm not interested in buying anything from a company that deliberately targets all their production in crappy union-busting states. Ford decided to build their EV manufaturing in Tennessee. The company built it there because of an anti-union legal environment. I won't buy another Ford because of that. I've owned four Fords to date -- three of them pickups. I'm shopping for a new one. It won't be a Ford Lightning. If you care about your fellow workers, you won't buy one either.
  • Denis Jeep have other cars?!?
  • Darren Mertz In 2000, after reading the glowing reviews from c/d in 1998, I decided that was the car for me (yep, it took me 2 years to make up my mind). I found a 1999 with 24k on the clock at a local Volvo dealership. I think the salesman was more impressed with it than I was. It was everything I had hoped for. Comfortable, stylish, roomy, refined, efficient, flexible, ... I can't think of more superlatives right now but there are likely more. I had that car until just last year at this time. A red light runner t-boned me and my partner who was in the passenger seat. The cops estimate the other driver hit us at about 50 mph - on a city street. My partner wasn't visibly injured (when the seat air bag went off it shoved him out of the way of the intruding car) but his hip was rather tweaked. My car, though, was gone. I cried like a baby when they towed it away. I ruminated for months trying to decide how to replace it. Luckily, we had my 1998 SAAB 9000 as a spare car to use. I decided early on that there would be no new car considered. I loathe touch screens. I'm also not a fan of climate control. Months went by. I decided to keep looking for another B5 Passat. As the author wrote, the B5.5 just looked 'over done'. October this past year I found my Cinderella slipper - an early 2001. Same silver color. Same black leather interior. Same 1.8T engine. Same 5 speed manual transmission. I was happier than a pig in sh!t. But a little sad also. I had replaced my baby. But life goes on. I drive it every day to work which takes me over some rather twisty freeway ramps. I love the light snarel as I charge up some steep hills on my way home. So, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Passat guy.
  • Paul Mezhir As awful as the styling was on these cars, they were beautifully assembled and extremely well finished for the day. The doors closed solidly, the ride was extremely quiet and the absence of squeaks and rattles was commendable. As for styling? Everything's beautiful in it's own way.....except for the VI's proportions were just odd: the passenger compartment and wheelbase seemed to be way too short, especially compared to the VI sedan. Even the short-lived Town Coupe had much better proportions. None of the fox-body Lincolns could compare to the beautiful proportions of the Mark was the epitome of long, low, sleek and elegant. The proportions were just about perfect from every angle.
  • ToolGuy Silhouetting yourself on a ridge like that is an excellent way to get yourself shot ( Skylining)."Don't you know there's a special military operation on?"