VW could bring it's trucks to the US once again.
Volkswagen has not offered a truck in the United States since 1984, when it stopped building the Rabbit-based pickup. The reason it's difficult for foreign automakers to sell trucks here is due to an obscure law nicknamed the Chicken Tax. That tax adds a 25% tariff on light trucks imported to the US as retaliation for Europe placing tariffs on American chicken in the 1960s. This is why the current Volkswagen Amarok (and many other foreign-built trucks) never came to the US. With the next-generation Amarok, this could change.
If trademark applications are an indication, VW may finally bring the Amarok stateside. The German automaker filed to protect the name in the US, meaning we can potentially get excited about its arrival. Here's what you need to know about the next-generation VW Amarok.
Our rendering artists have imagined what the next-generation Amarok might look like using official VW rendering art combined with recent auto show designs like the Tarok Concept. The design should bear some resemblance to other VW products, most likely large SUVs like the Atlas. A connected headlight bar (like the one on the Tarok) would give the Amarok a unique front signature. The renderings depict two variants, including a plug-in hybrid and an all-electric model. Since the EV would require less cooling, it has a smoother front end with a smaller grille opening.
VW will develop the Amarok in collaboration with the next-generation Ford Ranger. By teaming up with Ford, VW can take advantage of North American production facilities, thus avoiding the dreaded Chicken Tax. Co-branded vehicles like this can often lack differentiation, but VW promises the Amarok will have DNA unique from the Ranger. We aren't sure how distinct each company's pickup truck will be, but we assume the two will at least share powertrains and other important components.
There is still speculation surrounding the drivetrains for the Amarok and Ranger. In other markets such as Australia, they are expected to use turbocharged or twin-turbo four-cylinder diesel engines that won't be available in the US. A 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V6 sounds unlikely as well, but the 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6 used in the new Bronco seems like a likely option. VW hasn't ruled out a plug-in hybrid option, a first in the truck segment. The PHEV option would pair with a turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine.
Ford already has the electric F-150 Lightning on the way, and a recent trademark for the name "Splash" could hint at a second EV truck. It's unclear if the Splash name will go on the Ranger or the smaller Maverick, but if it's the former, we could see VW offering its own electric Amarok, assuming our prediction about the Splash is true.
If the Amarok does arrive in the US, it will squarely line up against established midsize pickup truck options. These include the Chevrolet Colorado, Ford Ranger, Honda Ridgeline, GMC Canyon, Nissan Frontier, Jeep Gladiator, and Toyota Tacoma. We initially expected VW to build a smaller compact truck to rival the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz, but the Amarok's Ranger underpinnings preclude this idea. American truck buyers are a highly loyal bunch, so we're thinking the Amarok will need to offer something special to sway people to buy a VW.