Ford and Volkswagen announced a global alliance in January which would see the two companies develop commercial vans and mid-sized pickups.
At the time, the automakers said Ford would be responsible for engineering and building the trucks which were “expected to go to market as early as 2022.” However, it appears everything isn’t quite as straightforward as it originally seemed.
In an interview with Wards Auto, Volkswagen of America’s senior vice president of product strategy explained the pickup situation is “still a little bit hazy” despite a planned launched in just three years. As Hein Schafer said, “What will come of it is, at the moment, still not 100% certain.”
While initial speculation suggested Volkswagen would receive an Amarok successor based on the Ford Ranger, Schafer said that is a bit more complicated than it seems. As he explained, in that scenario, Volkswagen would receive the Ranger platform and then have to create a uniquely styled truck that looks “totally different” from Ford’s version. He also noted the mid-size truck segment is “super-competitive” so Ford’s “not going to throw, like, an olive branch at us and give us their Ranger or whatever else.”
Despite downplaying the possibility of a Ranger-based Volkswagen pickup, Schafer did say it’s not unprecedented. In particular, he noted how the partnership between Nissan and Mercedes spawned the Navara-based X-Class.
Little else is known about the mid-size truck at this point, but Schafer said the company has no plans to enter the full-size truck segment. As he explained, the Ford “F-150 has that segment sewn up so tight” that “trying to conquest an F-150 customer would be stupid.” He also noted the Nissan Titan and Toyota Tacoma haven’t managed to put much of a dent in the segment.
While full-size trucks appear to be off the table, Volkswagen used the New York Auto Show to gauge interest in small trucks with the Tarok concept. A production version is being built for South America and it could eventually come stateside if there is enough demand.