Volkswagen's Pickup Truck Success All Depends On This

Report

A decision is likely to be made soon.

It’s no secret Volkswagen wants to enter the highly lucrative US pickup truck market. In fact, Volkswagen North America CEO Scott Keogh recently told us he thinks Americans pay way too much for pickups. He’s got a good point and that, right there, is VW’s potential gateway to that segment. The Detroit News has provided an update regarding the status and internal deliberations at VW about bringing the Tarok pickup truck to the US. It’s already slated to go on sale in South America in the near future and the decision to bring it in concept form to the New York Auto Show in April was done in order to gauge interest.

Apparently, there was enough and now it’s crunch time. Will Keogh and his team give the green light? They want to but it boils down to this factor: pricing.

You see, VW realizes long-time truck buyers, specifically full-size trucks, will have no interest in the Tarok because of its small size. Its bed, for example, is only around 4-feet in length, though this can be extended to 6-feet thanks to a clever design that drops the panel behind the rear bench seats. Those seats will then fold flat, just as they do in a SUV crossover.

Another key reason why traditional truck buyers won’t be interested in the Tarok is that it’s car-based, not body on frame like, say the Ford Ranger or Chevrolet Silverado. On the plus, VW has past experience with small trucks, specifically the Pickup (that was its name) from the 1980s, and the automaker has typically done well with younger buyers who desire smaller vehicles.

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But those young customers must be able to afford the Tarok. "VW has always done well with youth buyers – as long as the price is right,” said Autotrader’s Michelle Krebs. Another hurdle, which will hopefully be resolved very soon, is tariffs. Because of ongoing trade issues with Mexico, VW is waiting to see whether a deal between the countries can be worked out. Both the Jetta sedan and Tiguan SUV are imported from Mexico and slapping tariffs on both vehicles would be a huge problem.

A small lifestyle pickup truck like the Tarok could do well with young Americans but pricing is key. A starting price in the low $20,000s is a must and it can’t exceed $30k fully loaded.

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