There’s been continued chatter about whether or not the new Volkswagen Amarok midsize pickup for overseas markets might make it to these shores. Now, Stefan Jacoby, President and CEO of the Volkswagen Group of America, has quantified how many units the company would have to sell to make it worthwhile.
“We’d have to sell at least 100,000 Amarok pickups to make it feasible,” said Jacoby.
That makes the Amarok (which we've driven in Argentina) a very unlikely candidate for the neglected U.S. small truck market. Only the Toyota Tacoma is able to sell that kind of volume. Through November, 102,327 Tacomas have been sold. The next closest compact pickup by sales volume, the Ford Ranger, has sold only 51,097 units year-to-date.
Jacoby also cited the challenges facing the small truck segment and VW to break into the U.S. truck market.
“The compact pickup segment is declining,” said Jacoby. “Consumers are going to big pickups, which is a very traditional conservative segment. A lot of our competitors have burned their fingers in it as late entries.”
Jacoby said VW is also stymied by the location of its dealers, many of which are located far from the suburban and rural locations where trucks are popular. The so-called ‘Chicken Tax,’ which adds a 25% tariff to pickups manufactured in most countries outside the U.S., is also another hurdle. The Amarok is build at a VW plant in Argentina.
“Before we could bring [the Amarok] here we’d have to do a lot of homework,” said Jacoby. “But we have other vehicles to bring into this market first. Once we do that, we can talk about the Amarok.”