Volkswagen won't bring a pickup truck to the US market any time soon, according to its executives. That's set to disappoint the automaker's dealer network, which has been eager to have a vehicle to compete in the segment for some time.
Global head of the VW brand, Thomas Schäfer, indicated that no pickup was on the cards for the US. As reported by Automotive News, Schäfer made the comments at a roundtable event prior to the Los Angeles Auto Show. The VW executive stated that the company's US market lineup was set for the rest of the decade and that the brand's focus was elsewhere. Schäfer did concede that not competing in the segment could limit market share, given the sheer volume of the pickup market in the US.
Conversely, the head of VW North America, Pablo Di Si, does want to see the brand deliver a pickup truck to satiate US dealers. The executive noted that the most relevant market segments in the US were SUVs and pickup trucks. While Di Si specified that his focus was currently on the SUV portfolio, he stated a strong desire to make a US-market pickup a reality down the track.
Di Si's belief is that any new pickup from VW should be electrified. In that vein, VW has invested heavily in the new "Rugged SUV" EV platform for its reimagined Scout brand, which could be perfect for such a vehicle. However, Schäfer specifically stated that the Scout platform was not a part of VW's plans for its own lineup. Given Scout's own EV pickup is due to hit the market in 2026, it could be that the company wishes to avoid competing amongst its own brands.
Di Si has long been pushing the case for pickup trucks in VW. He just recently took over the North American post in September, having previously headed up VW's Latin American division. In that role, he was a key figure in developing VW's Tarok concept. The mid-sized unibody truck was first shown at the Sao Paolo Motor Show in Brazil, before later appearing at the 2019 New York International Auto Show. The truck was based on VW's modular MQB platform. Despite its good looks and a dealer network thirsty for a pickup, it remained a concept, and nothing more.
It's worth noting that VW currently sells pickups in other markets. The Amarok has been on sale globally since 2010. It competes with other mid-sized pickups like the Toyota Hilux and Nissan Navara, which similarly aren't available in the US.
VW dealers eager to compete in the pickup market don't have much to celebrate, given Schäfer's comments. However, as Di Si's comments demonstrate, there is pent-up interest in a US-market pickup from the German brand. Word from the top suggests nothing will happen this decade, but perhaps the 2030s could be a new dawn.
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