VW Considering Small MQB-Based Pickup for US Market

Volkswagen is showing off the Brazilian Tarok in New York this week. Why are they showing off a tiny South American pickup in New York? Well, that takes a second to explain, but it could just work.

Despite a tie-up with Ford and the assertion that a VW would be based on the Ranger platform, the Tarok is based on VW’s ubiquitous MQB platform. And that’s part of the plan.

“If there’s a Ranger Ranger and a VW Ranger, it might not work,” said Scott Keogh, Volkswagen’s North American president, at the New York Auto Show.

The memory of the VW Routan still looms large over the brand, which failed to sell well despite being based on a platform that already worked well in America, the Dodge Caravan.

To avoid making a VW Ranger, the brand is “floating ideas,” like a smaller pickup. Smaller than the Tacoma or the Ranger, a Tarok-sized, MQB-based pickup could be marketed towards urban buyers, who like to go out adventuring, but who need to live in an urban environment for work.

The idea would be to produce something roughly the same size as the last generation Taco and Ranger but will have two rows and an Avalanche-style bed to make it more convenient.

“I don’t see that as only as competing against pickups,” says Keogh. “It might compete more against A and B SUVs.” That is, small crossovers like the Honda HRV or the even the larger Mazda CX-5.

Volkswagen would, therefore, be looking to compete less against workhorse pickups, and more against lifestyle SUVs, that promise practicality, flexibility, and comfort over raw capability. But that’s a bit of a shot in the dark.

There isn’t really “[Tarok-sized] pickup isn’t really a market” in America, admits Keogh. “But if all you do is look where markets exist, you don’t grow. [It has] bed length of a B pickup, but its small enough for urban environments. There could be something there.”

Naturally, included in that statement is a certain amount of uncertainty, though. Volkswagen is reticent to make a commitment on what a VW pickup will look like. This is, at least, a sign of what VW is considering, though.