Sources inside Volkswagen say that the German automaker might be bringing a pickup truck to North America.
There are few markets in the world that American carmakers have on lock, but one of them is certainly the American pickup truck market. For nearly a century if you wanted a truck you got either a Ford, a Chevy, or a Dodge, and that was that.
At least, that was how it used to be. The big three still make over 90 percent of all pickups sold in North America, but it’s a very big market. And there are cracks starting to appear in the American carmaker’s iron grip.
The Toyota Tacoma is far and away the best-selling small truck you can get in the United States, and possibly the best you can get anywhere. It’s a growing segment that has gotten the big American truck makers concerned enough to actually respond. Ford is resurrecting the Ranger to try and put a dent in the Tacoma’s stride, while the Chevy Colorado ZR2 seems to be a desperate grasp for market share before a drastic redesign.
Now Volkswagen might get into the game with their own small pickup. The German carmaker already has a small truck they sell internationally, the Volkswagen Amarok, but it seems unlikely they’ll simply export the pickup here. For starters, it’s somewhat underpowered by American standards, and for seconds, it mostly only comes with diesel engines.
Volkswagen has been reeling since diesel-gate, when whistleblowers revealed that Volkswagen had been lying about their diesel emissions levels years. The company paid out $17.05 billion to settle fines, claims, and various legal fees, and according to Automotive News is still suffering financial losses in the US market.
Sources speaking with the automotive news site revealed the proposed Volkswagen truck would be of unibody design, like an SUV, rather than the body-on-frame type as most American trucks, and using VW’s MQB modular platform. The Honda Ridgeline is pretty much the only other pickup to follow this design.
It would also be built at Volkswagen’s Tennessee assembly plant, the same place they make the Passat and Atlas SUV.
So we could be in store for an Atlas pickup. Cool.