Will VW Build the Tarok Concept for the U.S.?
Having recently debuted two pickup concepts in the U.S., Volkswagen is clearly looking to enter this competitive segment on our shores. The only question is: What will the truck look like? In an interview with Automotive News, Volkswagen Group of America CEO Scott Keogh confirmed the automaker is considering three options when it comes to a pickup truck for the U.S. market.
As one option, VW could introduce a body-on-frame midsize pickup derived from the Ford Ranger, thanks to its new partnership with the American automaker. Ford has already agreed to develop and build the truck, which will act as the successor to the VW Amarok for worldwide distribution. Whether or not it’s sold in the U.S. remains to be seen.
The other two options were previewed by VW’s two truck concepts. The automaker could develop an unibody midsize pickup similar to the Tanoak concept shown at the 2018 New York Auto Show. This option makes sense, because the truck already looks production-ready for the most part. And since it’s based on the Atlas crossover, it could be built and sold easily in the U.S. The third option is an A-segment pickup like the Tarok concept VW debuted at the most recent New York show. This unibody pickup would be imported to the U.S. from Mexico. The tiny truck has already been confirmed for South America.
At first blush, this last option seems unlikely to come to the U.S., given there is currently no pickup this small over here. Ford is said to be considering a Focus-based small pickup and Hyundai plans to eventually launch a small lifestyle truck based on its Santa Cruz concept, but right now the midsize class is the smallest you can get in the U.S. Keogh’s statements hint at a small pickup’s potential, however. “There could be a space here,” he said, adding, “The positioning could be, when you extend the bed, in terms of what you can do with the second row, plus what you can do with the tailgate itself, you basically get the length of a B-segment pickup.”
“So we kind of like this application where you have the everyday size of an A-segment in terms of parking and driveability and fuel economy—all those types of things—and for the 4 or 5 percent of the time that you engage it in a lifestyle, smart packaging to bring to the vehicle,” he elaborated. Plus, the Tarok’s MQB platform makes it pretty versatile. The vehicle will fit “a whole host of engines,” Keogh said, even up to a 300-hp V-6.