Last year, Volkswagen unveiled the Tarok small pickup truck concept. When it debuted, VW of America’s CEO Scott Keough bandied about the idea of VW selling just such an intriguing vehicle in the near future at an affordable price point.
Unfortunately, Volkswagen of America’s new COO Johan de Nysschen dropped a dump truck full of ice on that idea at this month’s Chicago Auto Show. In a Motor Trend interview, de Nysschen said that a pickup truck was “not even on the discussion set for North America for the next five years.”
The COO cited competition in the current marketplace as a primary reason, stating “the door is not open for a conventional approach.”
However disappointing that may be, it’s hard to argue against de Nysschen’s thinking. The market niche for a small, cheap, car-based pickup in the American market may exist — Hyundai will explore that premise with the new 2021 Santa Cruz — but success there is far from certain. And VW, in the midst of a major electrification push, is cutting models from the lineup — new versions of the Atlas that are bound to turn a profit being the exception.
That said, the door hasn’t been slammed on the idea. One could place the emphasis, after all, on de Nysschen’s word “conventional.” Volkswagen’s MEB platform for electric cars will accommodate a wide range of vehicles; while we may not see a Volkswagen truck in the near future, an ID-branded electric pickup could arrive further down the line.
Plus, the company’s platforms are renowned for their flexibility. Volkswagen could change its mind about a small truck rather quickly if Hyundai’s exploration with the Santa Cruz proves a massive success.
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