Is VW About To Ask Ford For Help Developing A Pickup Truck?

Rumor / Comments

If so, will it come to the US?

Last summer we reported that Ford and Volkswagen were holding preliminary talks regarding the formation of a strategic alliance to jointly develop new vehicles. No shared equity or cross-ownership stakes were discussed, only joint research and development. At the time, it was assumed this development would largely be limited to commercial vehicles that could be sold globally. According to Automotive News Europe, however, VW is also examining ways to shave development costs off its next-generation Amarok pickup truck and Ford, quite conveniently, has lots of expertise when it comes to pickups.

The current first-generation Amarok, which is not sold in the US, competes directly against the Ford Ranger in overseas markets, but the former was launched eight years ago, hence VW's desire to get a successor out soon. Assuming Ford is willing to offer its expertise, which depends on what VW can offer in return, chances are the next generation Amarok will once again not be homologated for the US. How come?

Because it doesn't need to be. Remember, VW unveiled the Tanoak concept truck, based on the Atlas crossover, last April at New York. From what we're hearing, VW very much wants to move ahead with a production version, but it needs to get the truck formula right. For example, a few VW officials have already stated they're fully aware they can't compete with Detroit's pickup trucks, so the challenge is to figure out what kind of truck a production-spec Tanoak has to be.

Because of its unibody architecture, it would be a direct competitor to the Honda Ridgeline. Detroit's trucks are all body-on-frame. The idea of VW seeking Ford's assistance for the next Amarok isn't entirely without precedent. Mercedes saved lots of money after reaching a deal with Nissan to utilize the overseas Frontier's body-on-frame platform to create the current X-Class.

In any case, whatever potential truck deal VW and Ford may reach will likely see the result sold in Europe and other overseas markets only. America, as it sounding more than likely, will soon have a production version of the Tanoak.

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