Ford And VW’s Pickup Partnership Is “Hazy,” More Complex Than Slapping VW Logos On The Ranger

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.

Also Read: VW And Ford Make It Official, Launch Global Partnership

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.

  • Ilbirs

    By what is being told, the Amarok II will be far more complex than badge-engineering and this is great. The current Amarok is the only BOF model on VW range and it doesn’t make sense to continue this if you have a partnership with a Ford that will have a highly flexible platform for trucks, capable of underpinning both something sized like the Ranger or other products on F-Series territory.
    If we see what can be understood by what is being said on Wards Auto’s story, maybe in an extreme approach of this we can expect the combination of two different experiences that both Ford and VW have:

    1) By the German side, the experience of putting its own drivetrains on a platform originally designed to receive engines and transmissions from the original automaker. This is what was done by VW in the second-gen LT and first-gen Crafter, both then using the same Sprinter underpinnings from Mercedes but employing VW propulsion;

    2) By the American side, the experience of putting different cabs on the same frame, something that Ford learned when partnered with Navistar on the Blue Diamond Truck partnership and gave birth to the DuraStar by International and the F-650 and 750 by Ford.

    If these experiences are combined, for sure people won’t pay attention to the fact that an Amarok II, powered by VW engines and probably using the same ZF gearboxes we see today, is underpinned by the same frame seen on a Ranger, so much the differences between the two products.

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