Ready for a VW Pickup Truck? Because It Is Coming

Volkswagen makes a variation of the Ford Ranger in Europe and other countries. But the last time VW sold a truck in the US was the Rabbit car/truck. Before that, it was the Microbus with the fold-down bedsides in the 1950s and 1960s. But now there are signs VW is preparing its next pickup truck to sell in the US. 

VW has trademarked the “Amarok” name for its pickup truck

VW Amarok concept rendering
VW Amarok concept | VW

The main reason is due to our “chicken tax.” Trucks built outside of the US get a 25 percent tariff which kills their ability to be competitive. Now, VW has trademarked the “Amarok” name used for its pickup back home. 

Ford and Volkswagen have working relationships with each other. Ford will be making electric vehicles using VW’s MEB EV platform. And VW will use Ford’s Ranger architecture for its next Amarok. 

Ford Ranger and Amarok truck will be built on the same assembly line in Wayne, Michigan

2021 Ford Ranger front 3/4 view
2021 Ford Ranger | Ford

Since both the Ranger and Amarok will be built on the same assembly line in Wayne, Michigan, there is no reason not to sell the Amarok here. And VW has made moves over the years indicating it wanted something pickup-like to sell here. Its Tarok concept truck from 2019 is only one example of publicizing it is eyeing the pickup truck segment. 

VW has already stated that the next Amarok won’t be a badge-engineered Ranger. While the 2.0-liter and 3.0-liter diesel are planned for the Amarok overseas, diesel doesn’t sell here. So we expect a new 4-cylinder or V6 engine to reside where the oil-burner once did. 

We hope that if VW does bring the Amarok to the US that it separates itself from the Ranger. Consumers need a reason to buy one vehicle over another. Mazda and Ford shared minitrucks in the 1970s, but the Ford version clearly dominated the segment, though they were virtually identical. 

VW badge-engineered its Routan minivan-we hope it doesn’t do that with the Amarok

VW pickup concept rendering
VW pickup concept | VW

A decade ago VW tried to badge engineer its Routan minivan. It was just a Dodge Caravan with a slightly altered fascia and higher price. Volkswagen sold it here from 2009 to 2014, but it didn’t sell well.  

And generally, VW is always late to cover segments that do well in the US. When it does finally decide to release a vehicle it disappoints. We’re talking models like the Touareg which shared its architecture with the Porsche Cayenne and Audi Q7. 

Because of the platform being more upscale the Touareg was priced higher than US buyers expected. Sales were never great but really dropped after about 2007 to around 4,000 to 7,000 annually. In the past few years, it has seen sales dip to 160 in 2019 and only 34 sold in 2020. 

All of this is hopefully in the past. We look forward to seeing a new VW pickup truck added to the popular segment. Variety is a good thing.

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