Will The U.S. Get A Beetle-Based Pickup?
By: Mike Levine Posted: 10-05-08 23:39 PT
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A truck that makes the Toyota A-BAT (which we like) look like a Super Duty? Automotive News is reporting on whispers about Volkswagen potentially selling a new pickup in the U.S. that’s based on its upcoming second-generation New Beetle.

A Beetle-derived hauler could play a role in Volkswagen's plan to boost annual vehicle sales in the U.S. to 1 million by 2018, up from about 230,000 last year. But such a move would likely disappoint American truck shoppers hoping for something more substantial from VW.

Volkswagen recently unveiled a rugged concept version of its all-new world pickup at the 2008 IAA Commercial Vehicles Show in Hanover, Germany. Rumored to be called "Robust," VW's first in-house designed, engineered and manufactured pickup isn't destined for our shores. VW will only sell the new work truck in South America, South Africa, Australia and Europe.

What might a Beetle pickup look like? Several years ago, German second-stage manufacturer CargoFun created custom pickups based on the first-generation New Beetle. They featured a trunk in the tailgate and 1,000 pounds of load-carrying capacity in the cargo box. Conversion costs were high, though -- upward of $10,000, which seemed to scuttle the market for such a truck.

Maybe someone at VW has a wicked sense of humor. VW officially says the midsize Robust will be a one-ton pickup. Perhaps if a Beetle-based truck arrives in the U.S., it will try to market it as a half-ton.

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