VW Could Build the Affordable EV Pickup Truck America Needs

There's room to undercut the market.

volkswagen tarok pickup concept

Volkswagen has teased us about building a small, cheap pickup truck to compete with the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz for some time now. VW brought a cool Tarok pickup concept to New York back in 2019; VW exec mused about entering the pickup market at a cheap price point; VW even filed a trademark application for Amarok, the name for its non-American market pickup.

No fire has emerged from beneath all that smoke yet; indeed, Volkswagen Group of America's COO ruled out a conventional pickup for the next five years back in 2020. But VW is considering entering the American market with an electric one.

Volkswagen Group of America CEO Scott Keogh told Business Insider Volkswagen was "actively looking at" the electric truck segment, which he called "the chance of a lifetime."

"I think it's the chance of a lifetime in this segment because electrification gives you a reset moment. It gives you a chance to bring some, let's say, alternatives and some new ideas into this great segment," Keogh told Business Insider. "That reset moment gives a competitive chance to come in, whether it's Rivian or whether it's us."

Over the past five years, VW has repositioned itself dramatically in the American market. The brand has jettisoned iconic small-ish cars like the Golf, Passat and Beetle and leaned hard into new crossovers like the Atlas, Atlas Cross Sport and Tiguan. And if there's one segment Americans love more than crossovers, it's pickups — even crossover-based ones. Ford had to shut down new orders on the Maverick.

Volkswagen's MEB platform makes developing a potential electric pickup truck much easier than a conventional one. The same powertrain and underpinnings for the ID.4 crossover and new ID. Buzz van can be repurposed for a body shape with a truck bed.

And there could be a market opening waiting for VW to enter. Electric trucks are hitting the market in droves, but vehicles like the Rivian R1T, GMC Hummer EV SUT, Ford F-150 Lightning (when reasonably equipped) and Tesla Cybertruck have started off super-capable and incredibly pricey. Toyota may go upmarket with its pickup. And Ford has not built an electric Maverick — yet.

VW undercutting everyone with 200-ish horsepower RWD and 300-ish horsepower AWD trucks on the MEB platform for around the $40,000-ish starting price of the ID.4 could be incredibly appealing. But we'll have to wait and see what happens.


Advertisement - Continue Reading Below