Ready for a VW Pickup Truck? Because It Is Coming
Volkswagen makes a variation of the Ford Ranger in Europe and other countries, but not the U.S. The last time VW sold a truck in the US was the Rabbit car/truck in 1979. Before that, it was the Microbus with the fold-down bedsides in the 1950s and 1960s. But now, there are signs VW might be preparing its next pickup truck to sell in the US.
VW has trademarked the “Amarok” name for its pickup truck
The main reason trucks not manufactured in the U.S. rarely make it here is due to our “chicken tax.” Trucks built outside of the US get a 25 percent tariff which kills their ability to be competitive. For VW’s Amarok to be sold here, it would need to be manufactured here as well.
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 new Amarok.
Could the Ford Ranger and Amarok truck be built on the same Wayne, Michigan assembly line?
Both the Ranger and Amarok will be built on the same assembly line in Wayne, Michigan. So there is no reason not to sell the Amarok here. And VW has made moves over the years indicating it wanted something pickup-like here. But that was before its announcement of reviving the Scout brand here.
VW has already said the next Amarok won’t be a badge-engineered Ford 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 should it be sold here.
We hope that if VW does bring the Amarok to the U.S. that it separates itself from the Ranger. Mazda and Ford shared minitrucks in the 1970s. But the Ford version clearly dominated the segment, though they were virtually identical.
Would a badge-engineered VW Amarok sell?
A decade ago VW tried to badge engineer its Routan minivan from a Dodge Caravan with a slightly altered fascia and a higher price. Volkswagen sold it here from 2009 to 2014, but it didn’t sell well. We hope that its Routan experience means an American Amarok would look different from the Ranger.
Generally, VW is always late to cover segments that do well in the US. When it does finally release a vehicle it disappoints. We’re talking about models like the Touareg, which shared its architecture with the Porsche Cayenne and Audi Q7. Because the platform was more upscale, the Touareg was priced higher than U.S. buyers expected. Sales were never great, but really dropped after 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.