American Volkswagen executives still want a pickup truck for the U.S. market, and they don’t seem content to let the segment go unanswered.
On Tuesday, President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America Pablo Di Si told Motor Authority the automaker will look again at the pickup truck segment for America.
The timeline for a Volkswagen pickup to arrive in dealers isn’t clear, but the executive said the current plan is to bring a proposal to the board in Germany in the third quarter of 2023.
Should a pickup truck be approved it would be developed in America for America. Di Si noted that cars built in America for America are more successful as shown by the Atlas crossover SUV, which was designed and developed in America, and is built in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
VW’s potential pickup would leverage current platforms in the automaker’s portfolio, and would be electrified. Expect it to be a unibody vehicle, likely based on the Atlas’ platform.
The Atlas, which was introduced for the 2018 model year and refreshed for 2021, will debut an updated look for 2024 at the 2023 Chicago Auto Show. A next-generation Atlas could be years away.
Volkswagen’s North American Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Andrew Savvas told Motor Authority the next-generation Atlas could be electrified. Di Si noted that it could have a hybrid or plug-in hybrid powertrain, but a plug-in hybrid model makes more of an impact. “It’s not strategically wise to go into multiple directions for hybrids,” Di Si said.
Any future plug-in hybrid pickup truck or Atlas would not only need to be built in America, but also have its battery pack’s minerals and cells be sourced domestically to qualify for the recent Inflation Reduction Act incentives. If VW does that, however, its battery provider would qualify for up to $45 per kilowatt-hour of battery manufacturing incentives under a different part of the IRA. That could make an Atlas-based PHEV pickup considerably cheaper than any competitor without a plug.
Volkswagen revealed a Tanoak pickup truck concept based on the Atlas at the 2018 New York auto show. At the time executives said the concept was not intended for production and was meant to gauge consumer interest.