By on March 8, 2019


European and other overseas buyers will one day be able to purchase a Volkswagen version of the Ford Ranger, all thanks to the automakers’ recently forged alliance, but what about North American customers?

The dream of a German pickup in the U.S. is still alive, VW confirms. However, what that truck might look like — and who will build it — is still a question mark.

Last year saw the debut of the Atlas Tanoak concept — a four-door, unibody pickup built on a stretched Atlas platform. Its appearance at the New York Auto Show offered VW execs an opportunity to gauge the public’s reaction.

While overseas customers have access to a genuine, body-on-frame VW truck, that model’s getting long in the tooth. Hence why VW hoped to get its hands on the Euro-market Ranger. In North America, however, domestic automakers rule the truck segment, and a possible entry into that competitive field isn’t a decision that can be made lightly.

Still, VW wants a piece of the action.

Speaking to RoadShow in Geneva, Volkswagen of America CEO Scott Keogh said, “We think we are now, finally, with our SUVs, a mainstream manufacturer. But without a doubt, the biggest open space is pickup. Without a doubt.”

If it does choose to go down that path, VW faces a choice. It could go it alone and build the Tanoak, but the company’s alliance with Ford now affords the automaker another opportunity. Both options are under consideration — with much wringing of hands and furrowed brows, it seems.

Saying “we have opportunities to do it ourselves,” Keogh added, “We have opportunities with Ford. It’s something we are 100 percent investigating.”

Should Ford’s U.S.-market Ranger become the basis for a new midsize VW pickup, Keogh doesn’t want to see a cheap exercise in badge engineering.

“That doesn’t work for us,” he said. “We have to have credibility and bring something to the table.” The truck, in whatever form it takes, must be something the brand is proud of, he added.

[Images: Volkswagen, Ford]

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8 Comments on “Volkswagen: American-market Pickup Still on the Table...”

  • avatar

    “We have to have credibility and bring something to the table.” The truck, in whatever form it takes, must be something the brand is proud of, he added.

    Volkswagen Routan…?!

  • avatar
    R Henry

    Why would Ford want to participate in diluting its market share in its most important product family? I don’t get it.

    • 0 avatar

      Because the “business case” is someone’s spreadsheet and powerpoint would get them promoted.

    • 0 avatar

      Economies of scale. In Germany, you see plenty of Amaroks but hardly any Rangers at all. Why would VW want to participate in diluting its market share here? Besides, we’re talking what you call midsize — hardly the most important product for Ford USA.

      Ford and VW seem to be serious about forming a commercial vehicle alliance like almost everybody else in Europe has. The next VW Crafter van will share its underpinnings with the Transit, the next VW Caddy micro panel van will do likewise with the Transit Connect, and I wouldn’t be too surprised if eventually the VW Transporter/Caravelle will merge with the Transit Custom too. Plus of course all the electric vehicles that will join the lineup in the coming years.

      VW has quite a lot to offer here. So has Ford … and part of their offerings seems to be an inroad to the US commercial vehicle market.

  • avatar

    My brother has an old VW Rabbit gasoline pickup. It’s a piece of junk, but it still runs. Most of the time.

    • 0 avatar

      There was a house in Gallup (should have taken a picture) were for many years, even into this century, the two vehicles sitting in the driveway were a mid 70s Town Car (likely a 460 V8) and an early 80s VW Caddy diesel pickup.

      Both in a buttery yellow cream color.

  • avatar

    They would probably be able to sell as many trucks as Honda sells Ridgeline which isn’t too many. Honda isn’t losing too much sleep since they sell tons of CRVs, Pilots, Civics and Accords. VW isn’t really a big seller in USA although I hear Tiguan and Atlas are very good sellers as VW comes. The new warranty helps of course. Pretty much best warranty in business.

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