Volkswagen says it’s considering an electrified pickup truck

Volkswagen divulged to Autoblog and a small group of media at the Chicago Auto Show today that it is looking into making a pickup truck. This isn’t the first time in recent history VW has threatened to greenlight a pickup — the company was talking a similar tune back in 2019 when it unveiled the Tarok Concept, but nothing ever materialized. Maybe things will be different this time?

“So, the first thing we wanted to do was make sure we round out the electric vehicle SUV portfolio,” Hein Scafer, SVP of Product Marketing and Strategy started. “And the next request I think charged onto the board is of course we want a pickup truck. Please talk. Let’s get it. Let’s get a pencil into it man.”

VW said it will be making decisions in the second half of the year, so perhaps there could be some more news out later in 2023. What form would this pickup take? It’s still up in the air, but VW’s new CEO of America offered some clarifications.

“It would not be a combustion,” Pablo Di Si, VW CEO of America said. “Let me define, electrified. It can be electric. It can be a plug-in. It cannot be a combustion engine. That’s for sure.”

So we’re all on the same page, Di Si is essentially saying that VW would never put out a purely combustion engine pickup truck. Instead, it would be either a plug-in hybrid or a purely electric truck. For now, VW isn’t committing to either direction. Another thing that Di Si made very clear is that it won’t have anything to do with the electric pickup that Scout has already announced — this would be a VW project. 

The size of the vehicle is partly in question, but it goes without saying that VW isn’t going to try and take on the full-size pickup segment where the F-150, Silverado and Ram 1500 reign supreme. 

“What segment? Hey, we’re still playing around,” Di Si said. “Yeah, we have not decided on the segments. It’s another question. It depends on the platform as well. Depending on the platform you have is how much space you’re going to have. We’re open to this, but the only thing that it will not be is a gasoline or diesel engine.”

If VW decides the compact pickup segment is where it wants to play, which is the most likely scenario, it will have the Hyundai Santa Cruz and Ford Maverick to contend with. Di Si laid out a few different platforms it might use, and they’re all unibody.

“So obviously we need to leverage existing platforms within VW, having said that we’re going to be looking at all options,” Di Si said. “You have the Atlas platform, we have the Taos platform. You have other platforms that we have not launched yet. So the important thing is that … the vehicle is developed in the region for the region. So it cannot be a development from Europe, or Asia and brought here. They need to be done with clinics in the U.S.”

VW noted that vehicles it designed specifically for the U.S. market perform better here because of it. Who would’ve thought? Like all far-reaching plans like this, take this news with a grain of salt. VW clearly has some thoughts on pickups, but the product is purely theoretical at this stage.

Find the most recent Chicago Auto Show 2023 news and updates in the Live Blog.

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