Volkswagen Plans to Build Pickups But Not For U.S. Market
By: Mike Levine Posted: 09-14-07 01:17 PT
© 2007

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While we're saving up our allowance for our annual pilgrimage to MECCA SEMA next month, we skipped the 2007 Frankfurt Auto Show where Volkswagen AG's chairman, Martin Winterkorn, announced VW's intent to build new pickups.

Mr. Winterkorn said current plans are for VW to build three versions of small haulers. The trucks are destined for sale almost everywhere in the world except the United States - for now.

Volkswagen has had an on-again, off-again interest in building a pickup for the U.S. since production of the VW Rabbit pickup ended in 1984. The overseas version of the Rabbit pickup, badged as a Caddy, is still on sale today in South Africa. Other Vee-Dub variants also exist, like Düwel's Cargofun custom pickup, based on the New Beetle.

In 1999 we followed then VWAG chairman Ferdinand Piech around the floor of the North American International Auto Show as he got up close with the Chevrolet Silverado and other domestic pickups. Mr. Piech said he was a fan of American pickups, and his son drove a Toyota Tundra.

The next year Volkswagen previewed the Touareg sport utility by showing the Advanced Activity Concept (AAC) pickup at the 2000 NAIAS. While rumors circulated the AAC might also enter production, it never received a greenlight. Perhaps the fruit basket-wearing models in the bed of the AAC meant VW hadn't quite figured out 'Merican truck buyers.

The last time we heard about a VW pickup was in 2001, after Volkswagen debuted its Samba Microbus concept. In a display case next to the Samba was a scale model of a Samba-based pickup inspired by the sixties-era Microbus pickup.

With three new world pickups apparently on the way, will the U.S. eventually get its own version?

According to The Car Connection, they're reporting that U.S. Volkswagen second-in-command Adrian Hall told them, "With four other projects in the pipeline (for the U.S. ) it's not a top priority," especially not with the pickup segment suffering the impact of rising fuel prices.

You can also find out more about the new VW pickups at Edmunds Straightline Blog.

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