Don’t Expect a Volkswagen Pickup in the U.S. Anytime Soon

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There have been rumblings of Volkswagen selling a pickup in America for a good bit now, because if you’re an automaker and you have a look at the American market, it sure seems like even the weakest pickup truck effort could get in on the insatiable American appetite for pickup trucks. Well, you might think, anyway, because go ask Nissan how selling the Titan is going. That is, perhaps, Volkswagen’s fear, too, in not offering a pickup for America, in that selling no pickup might be better than selling a mediocre slow-selling pickup.

Reading between the lines, that is what I’ve surmised at least from comments made by VW executives this week in Los Angeles, who were there for a show that featured autos. Automotive News was there, too, along with a “small group of journalists” to talk with Thomas Schäfer, a global Volkswagen executive, about a possible VW pickup based on the platform being developed for Scout. Schäfer delivered some real talk.

“At the moment, our focus on the lineup doesn’t include it,” Schäfer, who started his new job three months ago, told a small group of journalists at an off-site roundtable discussion before the Los Angeles Auto Show. “At the moment, we have a clear lineup all the way through the second half of this decade. Then again, in the American market, if you don’t play in certain segments, then you have to stay in a certain market share area. But the question of [VW’s new Rugged SUV platform] is not our priority at the moment.”

Auto News also quotes Pablo Di Si, who is the boss of VW in North America, who sounds like a guy who is positively begging corporate to sell a pickup here.

Di Si, who headed up VW’s Latin American region before taking over North America on Sept. 1, spoke lovingly about the Tarok, the Latin America-developed compact unibody pickup concept shown at the 2019 New York auto show. The budget-friendly concept took advantage of VW’s global platform strategy to essentially use the parts bin to craft a Tiguan-sized all-wheel-drive pickup with a transformable bed perfectly suited for surfers in Brazil to carry their boards, Di Si explained.

“That was my baby,” Di Si told Automotive News. He said in his early meetings with VW dealers in the U.S., the Tarok has come up as a possibility for the market. “It’s on us. I take care of VW, and we have a huge and great portfolio of SUVs,” he said. “There’s no pickup here — yet. But time will tell. I think we have the knowledge. I think the segment is relevant. And we’re going to play the game and see where that kind of takes us.”

The people in Wolfsburg who actually make these decisions probably find all of this very cute, though Di Si is also preemptively setting up a convenient excuse for the next time he needs to explain to his bosses why VW sales in America are down. We could really use a truck to sell here, he will say, and everyone will nod solemnly. VW dealers, too, will say that they sure could use a pickup to sell, and everyone will ignore them, because they are dealers. Does the American truck buying public actually want a VW pickup? We’ll find out one day, years from now. Or we won’t!

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