Volkswagen Unveils Concept Version of Upcoming Pickup


Update #1: 09-23-08 21:43 PT

Automotive News reports  Volkswagen expects annual sales of its new pickup truck to hit 100,000 units globally.

For comparison, that's about half the volume of Toyota Tundra half-ton pickups sold in the U.S. in 2007 and 1/8th the total sales volume VW hopes to achieve in commercial vehicles sales worldwide by 2018.

Volkswagen has unveiled a design study of its upcoming all-new pickup, including pictures and information about the concept. The truck will publicly debut at the 62nd IAA Commercial Vehicles Show in Hanover, Germany later this week.

The four-door double cab pickup is specially outfitted for coastal search-and-rescue duties. It was engineered from research with emergency services experts, as well as VW’s in-house specialists.


"The concept vehicle – executed as a cleverly designed rescue vehicle for marine use – offers a preview of the fourth model series by the commercial vehicle manufacturer,” according to Volkswagen's press release.

The press release also says the production truck will be available with a choice of fuel-efficient gasoline direct-injection or diesel engines.

The concept pickup's exterior design is clean and uncluttered. Similar to the Chevrolet Avalanche, the cargo box is integrated with the cab. Unlike the Avalanche, the concept doesn't have a "midgate" that allows you to pass cargo through the bed into the cabin.

The front has been crafted with shared styling cues from VW's latest passenger cars and raked A-pillars. Atop its flat roof is a functional blue LED light bar with an integrated search light that swivels in all directions. The fenders are flared above the wheels, hinting at VW’s permanent all-wheel-drive 4MOTION technology that drives the truck.


The 5-foot cargo box includes integrated storage units that are tucked into the bed’s interior sidewalls and a unique two-piece tailgate that's been modified to store tools.

The interior is spartan – aimed at workers, not casual truck buyers. A radio-navigation system is controlled by a multifunction touch-screen, displayed in the upper area of the center console.

Based on earlier spy photos, the production pickup isn't expected to share the concept's aggressive C-pillar buttresses.

“We are showing a study, not the complete vehicle,” VW representative Jens Bobsien said of what the automaker calls the first pickup designed and manufactured from the ground up by a European mass-series producer.


Bobsien didn’t reveal the truck's name, nor is one visible on the concept. Only the label "Pickup" can be found on the rear bumper. The production truck is rumored to be called Robust or Taro (after VW's Toyota Hilux-based pickups produced from 1989 to 1994).

Volkswagen describes its new rig as a "one-ton," but the photos appear to put it more in what Americans consider to be the midsize category.

VW will produce the new truck at its plant in Pacheco, Argentina, beginning in 2009. It will initially be offered for sale in South America, South Africa, Australia and Europe, but VW says other markets will follow. Could that mean North America? Stay tuned.



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