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Volkswagen Thinks Americans Pay Too Much For Trucks

Interview / 17 Comments

Average full-size truck price these days: nearly $50,000. Ouch.

In case you haven't noticed, pickup trucks are more expensive than ever. Last September, the average price of a new full-size truck was $48,369. Exactly 10 years prior it was $32,694. The new Ford Ranger only starts at $24,300 and a few option packages will easily push that price tag north of $32,000. The car-based 2019 Honda Ridgeline? At least $30,000. Volkswagen, however, sees opportunity in these high prices, hence its decision to bring the Tarok concept to this year's 2019 New York Auto Show.

Speaking with Volkswagen Group of America CEO Scott Keogh, we were told "this vehicle will be made for the South American market. The reason it's intriguing for me is that there's no A-size pickup right now (in the US)."

"The pickup market is largely dominated right now by the C (full-size). I think we see the B pickup (mid-size) are gaining in credibility and volume. Is there space? Could you have an A footprint vehicle when you utilize the bed to its full capabilities with B length? It could sort of be a smart solution for an urban or suburban buyer." He makes a strong point.

Hyundai is also preparing to reveal its own car-based truck that we've been told will be slightly smaller than a Toyota Tacoma. It appears VW and Hyundai have similar thinking. But Keogh also mentioned potential pricing. Again, the Tarok has not received the green light for North America yet, but it might.

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"I think we can comment with an extremely, let's say, smart price point," he said. "I don't want to start to give away price points, but I think you could put a vehicle like that in the marketplace in, let's say, the mid-20s with a proper engine, proper everything. I do see an opportunity where these trucks have all moved into the 50s and the 60s (pricing) and beyond."

Keogh also mentioned that "depending on what drivetrain we put in there, you could also get phenomenal fuel economy out of that thing." An affordable, small pickup truck that doesn't gulp down fuel? Sign us up.