VW Looks to Ford for Next-Gen Global and U.S. Pickup

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Not long after Ford and Volkswagen entered into a partnership to create production efficiencies, the industry was buzzing about the possibilities, not the least of which was the prospect of a brand-new, Ford Ranger-based replacement for the not-sold-here body-on-frame VW Amorak.

According to Automotive News (subscription required), talks between the two automakers are revolving around how VW could take advantage of the Ford Ranger as the perfect platform for the next-generation Amorak, which could also mean it would likely be sold in the U.S.

Of course, on the flipside VW could use its new Atlas SUV unibody platform to create something more in line with the Tanoak pickup concept we first saw at the 2018 New York International Auto Show.

Automotive News is reporting that VW executives have not decided which direction to go, but it certainly sounds like they want to get into the lucrative U.S. truck marketplace with something more than a commercial vehicle. However, VW had mixed results in the past when it collaborated with Chrysler, using the Chrysler Town & Country minivan as the platform for the VW Routan. The rebadged model was premium-priced and ultimately failed.

Whether VW imitates the Honda Ridgeline with the Atlas Tanoak or follows a more commercially popular path a la the Ford Ranger, it looks like the U.S. mid-size pickup class will continue to grow and VW will be the first European automaker to enter the fray. More to come.

Manufacturer image

 

VW Atlas Tanoak 1 copy


 

Comments

it looks like the U.S. mid-size pickup class will continue to grow

@Mark W

It certainly looks like the SUPPLY of midsize trucks will grow. Whether the demand grows or not will depend on Detroit's ability to keep coming up with new product and new ideas.

Despite much noise about diesel midsizers several years ago, there really isn't much excitement in the showroom. No diesel Ranger on the horizon and no diesel Tacoma.

With pricing moving well past the $40k threshold now it's hard to imagine huge sales in the numbers of plush midsizers without something special to drive the interest. Maybe VW provides the thrust.

Also re: the VW Routan. Timing was awful. Started hitting showrooms during the worst recession in fifty years. Ugh.

@Mark Williams
I think there's a bit of confusion VW wants to use the Ford T6 Ranger chassis for the US only Tanoak. Amarok is fine they are now going to a 270 horsepower version .I have read the overseas version of the story and that is what appears to be what VW is doing

@ Mark Williams,
This is a different link but it spells the difference between the Amarok which is more for a global audience and theTanoak for the US
https://www.goauto.com.au/future-models/general-news/new-york-show-vw-builds-biggest-ute/2018-03-29/71239.html

@Mark Williams
Forgot to add will be no diesels for the Tanoak it will only have the 3.6 petrol/ gas engine

This makes sense. VW has a product that the dealers are begging them for without having to develop their own US specific model and without having to import facing a Chicken Tax of 25%. This also helps Ford out assuring Ford of using all their plant capacity which might not be necessary since the Ranger and the Bronco will be made in the same plant but it is better to have more demand because Ford could always convert another plant to make trucks especially if that plant is making a product that is not as much in demand and could be one of the planned products to be discontinued like the Fusion. We will see what happens but this could be a win for both VW and Ford.

@Robt R

I'm inclined to agree re diesel availability in the VW Tanoak.

Presently every lawyer and executive at VW breaks out in a rash whenever someone says the word Diesel.

As it is, it's hard to imagine the Tanoak being a big seller if it is in fact just a T6 Ranger with some German lipstick.

Ford also really appreciates the chance to sell some additional Rangers in a showroom where there aren't any F150s to take sales away from.

Papajim,
Depends on the prevailing attitudes in the US Here there is no problem

huh?

@papajim--By here Robert means Australia.

Depends on the prevailing attitudes in the US Here there is no problem

@Robert (or Jeff)

I'm still trying to understand. Attitudes about what?

What problem?

Papajim
Diesels low uptake in the US

@Robert

Why wouldn't VW want a cheaper engine in the Tanoak---cheaper to build than the 3.6 VW engine? Ford has the DOHC 3.3 litre and the 2.3 turbo engine.

I assume the VW 3.6 would be sourced from their eastern Tennessee plant.

@ Papajim
I cannot I tell you that it would be a VW decision

Last decade VW had re-badged Toyota's in Greece when I visited...

Prior to the introduction of the Amarok Pickups have never been hey big deal for Volkswagen

On second thought:

The design of the VW 3.6 is narrow enough to be a good fit between the struts in the Ford.

@papajim--I don't myself believe it is as much attitudes of the US consumers or manufacturers as it could be Government regulations that might make it harder for the Global trucks to comply without changes. There are plenty of truck buyers that would buy a Global Ranger or Global Hilux.

As for the 3.6 engine I agree it could be a VW decision but agree that it would be cheaper not to change the Ranger engine for a VW specific engine.

Pass the fire extinguisher!

A marriage made in heaven...

Hot new Ford's....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cy1UZfzICi4

Matched with with corrupt Volkswagen...lol...can't wait!

The good news is that they can use the "defeat devices" designed to circumvent emissions tests in the new Rangers. It's a win, win!

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-44005844

Rebadging might not be a bad idea especially during the growth years of an economy where there are a lot of first-time truck buyers. Mazda, Isuzu and others did it for decades so its possible. VW needs to be careful though, the incoming new Ranger, an already strong Colorado/Canyon and Tacoma, plus a likely soon refreshed Frontier are already competing for buyers in a much smaller market than fullsize, and all the aforementioned have been building and selling trucks nonstop while VW hasn't sold a single pickup in the United States since when, the Reagan Administration?

Mazda actually co-developed the Ranger with Ford and Isuzu co-developed the first generation of Colorado with Isuzu. With VW they are not co-developing the Ranger with Ford. Isuzu had a lot of input in the design of Colorado even with the I-5 engine being an Isuzu engine.

I meant Isuzu co-developed the first generation of Colorado with GM.

You're probably correct however most buyers are either unaware of that or do not care, and base their purchase on preconceived judgements of brands and models, as well as price points and "consumer reports" type reviews. Many will buy on reputation alone, price and reliability be damned. The Tacoma is a perfect example, everyone believes it's tough and lasts forever but ignore the fact that it gets awful fuel economy, costs as much as a fullsize truck and is boring as oatmeal.

Back to VW, which is the car company of tree huggers, sassy young women, tuners who lose every race, and leftists who aren't outdoorsy enough to buy a Subaru. Dumping a ton of money and resources into developing brand new midsize to compete with an already established field is a gamble, especially for a company like VW who only sells to weirdos who like off-brands, like Nissan buyers. Rebadging is definitely the way to go with an aggressive ad campaign, then redesign a few years later if buyers fall for it. Unless of course leftists get back into power and ruin the economy again.

BD
Pretty limited knowledge of VW. VW is Scania/ MAN , Porsche , Audi etc
VW will sell the Tanoak if it can cut costs on producing a " pretty small " product for them. US is a tiny market for them

I have often dreamed of a Ford/Honda merger. Where Ford (at least in the US) would sell rebadged Honda sedans, minivans, and small cars (dropping the fusion/focus) possibly even Honda crossovers... While Honda would pick up rebadged Mustangs, Transits, Transit Connects, Full Size SUVs, F150s and Rangers from Ford to rebadge and sell. It would go a tremendous way for both both companies to correct deficiencies in product AND gaps in segment offerings. A very natural fit.

Now we have a Ford that is abandoning the Fusion and most small car production a VW that wants into the truck world... It could be a very similar to my thoughts on Ford and Honda just Ford and VW. This could be the long term strategy/justification for leaving car production for Ford while still offering cars... and in many ways better small and midsized cars.

I have often dreamed of a Ford/Honda merger........

Posted by: Clint | Sep 10, 2018 6:10:02 AM

Dreamed?.........HAHA!

I think you're subconsciously wishing that Ford would step up their quality to that of Honda.

Pass the fire extinguisher!

@ Let's Make Fords Great Again

LMFAO!! That's perfect!

Scania and Man don't sell in the US. Irrelevant. See the "sassy young women" category for Audi and Porsche drivers. The US truck market is only as small for VW as they make it for themselves.

I can see how a partnership with VW would work with Ford especially in the US and Europe. VW could make the cars and Ford could make the trucks, crossovers, and suvs. That would save each a lot of money on developing their own products where one has an existing product and it could consolidate production in existing plants maximizing their capacities. Sergio said in the past that the car industry has excess capacity that could be utilized by consolidation.

This is good news for Ford. With their dire financial situation, this should be a big help in cutting costs.

I'm not surprised that VW would opt for one of their engines. Wise decision on their part.

BD
VW Corporation sales in the US only make up 1.9% of overall sales globally .
It is a very tiny market for them that is why they want Ford's chassis IF the want fo oroduce and sell a Pickup in the US

Ford and VW,
Doubly unreliable.

They could have looked at American Exploration Vehicles to build them a truck. Wouldn't be the first.

@y: HEMI RAMPCAGE
They wanted a established automaker to do it for them with a wide distribution network that's what Ford has

VW could make the cars and Ford could make the trucks, crossovers, and suvs. That would save each a lot of money on developing their own products where one has an existing product and it could consolidate production in existing plants maximizing their capacities.

@Jeff S

No disrespect intended, but seriously.

VW has been stuck in the 1990s since (umm, the 90s). Their catalog is brim full of very dated models. They finally sell an SUV (atlas) that is nice enough but Jeez, it's 10 years too late. I cannot think of a VW product that is cutting edge.

For all of Ford's faults, they have been on the edge in product development and research, almost too much. VW? Not at all.

@papajim
In the US, very different vehicles outside NA Huge range globally mini from other divisions in VW You only get some VW Vehicles. It is a very small market for VW.They are hopefully cutting costs by joining with Ford, basically a niche pick up

thank you Robert, you make a good point. That said, please share the names of a couple of VW models in any market world wide that might cause me to reconsider my perspective about their product development.

There are just a few VW products that I really love, but my overall experience is dreadful in recent years. The guy who owned the Mercedes shop where I worked also had a Volvo dealership, a Subaru store and a VW shop.

I drove every model and found them all lacking. Ironically they had many super faithful customers at that company despite ridiculous labor rates on the VWs. The cars were outdated and they were junky.

@ papajim
You have Skoda that are selling better then VW themselves in many markets. VW commercial division in Europe includes the Amarok. Scania/ MAN VW Truck and Bus division are going to buy Navistar , they sell between them 3/4 of all of NA heavy truck production
then Audi Porsche Bugatti , Ducati Bikes l as well as SEAT In some European Markets

Can add the products you get in US a bit more down market except for Porsche etc when you get globally

There are just a few VW products that I really love, but my overall experience is dreadful in recent years. The guy who owned the Mercedes shop where I worked also had a Volvo dealership, a Subaru store and a VW shop.

I drove every model and found them all lacking. Ironically they had many super faithful customers at that company despite ridiculous labor rates on the VWs. The cars were outdated and they were junky.
Posted by: papajim | Sep 10, 2018 7:57:18 PM

That was my impression with VW too. I never understood the fierce devotion some people had to those cars. The TDI's were popular with people that had to drive a lot of miles for their job, but the rest of their lineup is pretty mediocre IMO. I had a friend with an older Jetta that spent an entire weekend try to find a vacuum leak. Turns out all the door locks are vacuum actuated and he kept getting locked out of the car when it would act up. His instrument panel was lit up like a christmas tree most of the time because of all the issues it had. The car bodies also seem to rust pretty aggressively.

The only German sedan I would own would be one of the old MB W123's.

Brick
What you get in the US is pretty Mediocre

Ford & Honda would not work they are different types of companies.
Read Gary Flint from Honda and what he said how working at GM
was way different from how Honda does things.

@Posted by: Clit | Sep 10, 2018 6:10:02 AM

Like Clit, I have often dreamed of a Ford/Honda merger. Where Ford would sell rebadged Honda sedans, minivans, trucks and small cars and even Honda crossovers... while Honda would pick up rebadged Mustangs (but build them so they are reliable) and F150’s (but build them so they don’t catch fire). It would go a tremendous way for Ford to correct many deficiencies in product. A very natural fit. I would call the new company Honda.

Ford & Honda would not work they are different types of companies.
Read Gary Flint from Honda and what he said how working at GM
was way different from how Honda does things.
Posted by: 2007 Ridgeline Owner | Sep 11, 2018 1:00:22 AM

Judging by the major quality issues coming from Honda over the last 10-15 years, Ford and Honda would make a great team these days. Back in the 90's, Honda quality blew Ford out of the water.

@papajim--Maybe you are correct. VW's quality is abysmal. Ford would be better off with a joint venture with a Japanese or South Korean manufacturer. I have avoided German and European vehicles because of the high cost of maintenance and parts. I do see more joint ventures with manufacturers.

I'm just waiting for the current mid-sized class to become the future full-sized class as the full-sizers become relegated to Medium-Duty status.

@Vulpine--I don't see that happening anytime soon especially with the rollback of the current EPA standards. That could happen in the future but it might happen if the Global Pickups grow in size to a size between the current full size half tons and the current midsize pickups. Most of today's full size trucks have the capacity of yesterday's 3/4 pickups if you take away crew cabs and allow for a larger bed. The only thing is it is the crew cabs that are the biggest sellers because they have become family vehicles and few of those have the larger beds.

@Jeff S

Please don't make the mistake of comparing "ratings" of vehicles. There is no way that a half ton pickup somehow becomes a 3/4 ton truck by virtue of adding some springs. The tires, brakes and steering of half ton pickups are woefully inadequate for addressing the needs of HD pickups. A deadly combination.

I see this most on the interstates where I see guys pulling "too much trailer" with too little truck.

The HP and torque might fit the job but the ability to deal with sudden changes at 75 miles per hour always end up with bad, or even deadly results.

How about compact trucks? Every size imaginable of SUV and only midsize and fullsize trucks. Who will be the first to market with compact truck?



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