With the current selection of trucks available to U.S.-based buyers based around large and expensive platforms, I’m inclined to believe there is a place in the market for a smaller compact pickup with a lower buy-in cost. Not everyone needs a body-on-frame truck built to tow a yacht. I’m not the only one tuning in to this line of thinking, as Volkswagen Group of America CEO Scott Keogh seems to think so, too.
Volkswagen sells a large variety of SUVs and crossovers in a bunch of different sizes here in the U.S. market, and it makes a couple of different trucks for other markets, but doesn’t sell any trucks in the world’s largest truck market. That’s a missed opportunity for the brand that could easily be rectified.
The brilliance of Volkswagen right now is in its modular MQB platform, which can be built into any number of configurations. It currently underpins everything from the two-seat Audi TT to the massive 7-seater Volkswagen Atlas. That modular platform could easily be pushed into a pickup form. Hell, Volkswagen could cut the roof off of the rear hatch area of the Golf Alltrack, Tiguan, and Atlas and immediately have three new pickups to debut in the U.S.
Give us a MQB-based pickup truck with the GTI’s 228 horsepower 258 lb-ft of torque 2.0-liter turbo four, and price it around $25,000 and you’ve got a winning formula. The old days of compact pickups could easily make a resurgence at a price and size like that. I still see old compact bench-seat Toyotas and Nissans around, but there isn’t anything on the market to take up that space. Volkswagen could be on to something here.
“I think we can comment with an extremely, let’s say, smart price point,” Keogh told Roadshow. “I don’t want to, you know, 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 proper engine, proper everything.
Keogh continued, “I do see an opportunity where these trucks have all moved into the 50s and the 60s [pricing] and beyond. That is the price of an expensive luxury car, not a normal luxury car, and I think there is an opportunity because people do need these vehicles, and I think Volkswagen’s always made cars for people who need vehicles. You know, they have families, they need safety, they need things, so you have to hit a good price point, and I think we can.”
Volkswagen has a long history of unorthodox pickup truck solutions. I would be 100% in favor of adding another one to that roster. Especially with Volkswagen’s strategic partnership with Ford taking shape, perhaps it’s time for Ford’s compact Courier nameplate to come back by way of Volkswagen-based captive import.
Besides, people are already home-brewing their own Jetta-based pickups, so the concept is kind of already there. Bring on the right-sized and inexpensive pickups, we really need them.