VW Undecided On Upcoming U.S. Market Pickup’s Underpinnings

Volkswagen has a dilemma on its hands for the midsize pickup it intends on launching in the United States.

The German car manufacturer recently secured a global strategic partnership with Ford to co-develop light commercial vehicles. Through this partnership, it could sell a rebadged body-on-frame version of the Ford Ranger. However, the company also has the option of building a unibody pickup based on the Atlas crossover and previewed by the Tanoak concept launched in March.

According to Autonews, Volkswagen is weighing up its options but does believe that building a Ranger-based pickup will help to minimize costs.

“I wouldn’t rule out anything [on the car side], but the focus is let’s first get the LCV projects running.

“We want a concrete project vehicle that has a start of production and a certain volume, and then can talk about other issues,” Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles chief executive Thomas Sedran said.

VW Atlas Tanoak concept pictured

However, selling a Ranger-based VW pickup wouldn’t be as simple as it may seem. As Volkswagen is a more up-scale brand than Ford, it would have to price its pickup at a significant premium over the Ranger and this could turn away customers.

If VW were to put the Tanoak into production, it would be able to price it as it sees fit. Some are concerned that a unibody pickup like this wouldn’t hold the worldwide appeal of a body-on-frame vehicle like the Ranger, leaving Volkswagen in a bit of a quandary.

VW chief strategy officer Michael Jost said a final decision has yet to be made.

“Whether it’s a unibody or body-on-frame is something we’re still examining.”

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  • performante

    Who wants a badge engineered Ford Ranger? No one, that’s who. Didn’t VW learn from the Routan?

    • Ilbirs

      A possibility for an Amarok II underpinned by the same frame of a Ranger (probably that modular frame that Ford announced that it’ll be one of the only five platforms that the group will have in the future for all its lineup) is something like it happened in Europe when VW partnered with Mercedes to make the second-gen LT and the first Crafter: both vehicles have things in common but employ different engines and transmissions.
      As we’re talking about BOF vehicles, an Amarok II underpinned by the same frame of a Ranger could have its own cabin and bed, repeating in this case a partnership that Ford made with Navistar when they had the Blue Diamond Truck, LLC: both the bigger F-Series and the International DuraStar were underpinned by the same frame but had different cabs.

      If two experiences like these were put into a single project, most people wouldn’t mind that an Amarok uses the same frame and some other bits of the Ranger, so long as it’s powered by a VW drivetrain and the over the frame sheetmetal is VW designed.

    • Rocket

      I won’t pretend to know what the rest of the world wants in a pickup, but in the States “truck guys” would be much more likely to buy a BOF pickup with Ford underpinnings than an open-bed Atlas with the boat anchor 3.6. That’s assuming Ford doesn’t have a problem with it, that is.

    • Fakir Smith

      More like who wants a VW pickup.

      Not an overpriced one anyway.

  • Stephen G

    “Volkswagen is a more upscale brand than Ford” LOL!

    • Belthronding

      BS!

  • elias roth

    I won’t pretend to know what the rest of the world wants in a pickup, but in the States “truck guys” would be much more likely to buy a BOF pickup with Ford underpinnings and modern powertrain than an open-bed Atlas with that boat anchor 3.6. That’s assuming Ford doesn’t have a problem building a version for VW, that is

    • Rocket

      Is there a reason you replicated my post verbatim?

    • Patrick Clement

      I would only buy with the great sounding 3.6 VR6 boot anchor. 4 cylind anything sound and run unrefined.

  • USOZ

    VW has the Amarok. They could easily build it in Mexico (avoids the Chicken Tax) and sell it here. A rebadged Ranger is a terrible idea.

    That being said, VW should totally bring over its commercial cargo vans: the Caddy and Transporter. They would sell here.

  • clueless economist

    “If VW were to put the Tanoak into production, it would be able to price it as it sees fit.”

    Not sure that is how economics works, but what do I know.

  • Fakir Smith

    If it were in the spirit of the original beetle or rabbit let’s say meaning cheap, affordable, tough they could sell thousands. A near Audi price tag for a parking lot warrior? No thanks. The market desperately wants/needs an affordable, fun small pickup. Not another expensive one.

    So whatever you do VW you’ll never sell them in big numbers so just discontinue it now. What is your small pickup going to do that all the others can’t?

    Nothing.

  • javier

    i don think they can sell a premium truck in the states, best they could hope for is a rebadged ranger at the same price

  • Cobrajet

    They should make a heavier duty version of the Amarok.

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