We broke the story VW was interested in a truck at Detroit 2017.
During our chat with Dr. Matthias Erb, chief engineering officer for Volkswagen of North America at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show, we broke the story that the automaker was considering a new pickup truck built on the same platform as the Atlas large crossover. Well, a little over a year later it appears we’re about to see what that truck could look like. According to Automotive News, VW is set to unveil a midsize pickup truck concept this week at the New York Auto Show. As of this writing, however, a VW spokesperson has declined to comment on the concept.
We can’t say we’re in the least bit surprised VW is keen on a pickup truck, given its aggressive US expansion plans. However, Erb did tell us there was a main area of concern he and his bosses have with pickups: the segment is largely ruled by American automakers and they’re not keen on new competition, especially from VW. However, Erb stressed to us at the time that full-size pickups, such as the hot-selling Ford F-150, were likely out of the question for a couple of reasons. The first is Detroit’s (and Toyota’s) said market dominance. “More than 80-percent of trucks in the US are full-size. There are three main automakers who greatly protect this segment: Ford, GM and Ram.
They’re not just about to let someone else invade their turf,” Erb told us. The second issue is the lack of an available body-on-frame full-size platform. But like what Honda has done with the mid-size Ridgeline and its Pilot underpinnings, VW is now doing the same with the Atlas and this week’s concept. Will this pickup truck concept receive the production green light? It partly depends on how the concept is received this week by the media and public. If the reaction is positive, production could begin relatively soon. VW’s assembly plant in Tennessee, where the Atlas is built, would very likely manufacture the truck as well.