If you want to build a pickup, why not partner with the best?
Luxury trucks have become surprisingly popular in the past few years. Several brands have introduced plush pickups to the local market, such as the Toyota Tundra Capstone. Of course, there have been failed attempts, too. One only has to look at the Lincoln Blackwood or now-defunct Mercedes-Benz X-Class for proof of that.
But that hasn't stopped Audi from exploring the niche market of luxury midsize trucks, with brand CEO Markus Duesmann saying, "I can't promise that we will do one, but we are looking into it." This is according to Autocar, the British publication reporting Duesmann shared a few more clues with the press.
"Actually, we will present - not too far from now - maybe something." The CEO is keeping his cards close to his chest, but this does point to the unveiling of a concept or, perhaps, a production-ready premium truck.
The chances of Audi developing a luxury pickup are very likely. After all, parent company Volkswagen is part of a joint venture with Ford, which will see the second-generation Amarok utilizing the new Ranger's underpinnings. It shouldn't be too much work for Audi to further refine the Amarok and introduce a premium contender to the midsize truck segment.
While Audi is no stranger to producing SUVs, vehicles such as the Q8 tend to be road-biased; the truck would be the brand's first dedicated off-roader.
It won't be the first time a VW Group-owned premium brand ventures into the premium truck sphere. While under the ownership of Chrysler, Lamborghini created the LM002, affectionately known as the "Rambo Lambo." We doubt Audi has plans to fit the V12 from a supercar under the hood of its pickup, though.
If Audi were to utilize the Amarok/Ranger platform, it would do well to remember rival Mercedes-Benz's fatal mistake. The X-Class was a colossal flop, with very few sales over its short-lived life. The German powerhouse was criticized for not doing enough to the luxury pickup and, as a result, the entire thing felt like a tarted-up Nissan Navara/Frontier.
To truly appeal to customers (and justify the expected higher price) the Audi equivalent will have to impress with more power, superior comfort, and upmarket styling. Certainly, its experience with rallying and quattro all-wheel-drive will come in handy.
If it comes to fruition, will it make its way to America? We're not sure, but the premium pricing will probably encroach on large truck territory and, as we know, local consumers prefer full-size trucks. Then again, a niche market may just adore the idea of a luxury midsize truck. Like the Ford Maverick, it may just attract non-truck buyers if it's unique enough.