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Volkswagen boss teases return to U.S. pickup truck market

Volkswagen hasn’t offered a pickup truck in the United States for nearly 40 years. But the manufacturer could soon enter the segment again with an electric offering.

At least that’s what VW of America CEO Scott Keogh suggested recently during an interview with Business Insider.

“I think it’s the chance of a lifetime in this segment because electrification gives you a reset moment,” Keogh said. “It gives you a chance to bring some, let’s say, alternatives and some new ideas into this great segment.”

A promotional article for the Volkswagen Sportruck dating to the early 1980s.
A promotional article for the Volkswagen Sportruck dating to the early 1980s.

Keogh said an electric pickup is something VW is “actively investigating.”

Volkswagen has twice suggested it would re-enter the U.S. pickup truck market. Its previous truck was last offered in 1983.

In 2018, the automaker unveiled at Atlas Tanoak concept which was based on the Atlas mid-size SUV. One year later, VW introduced the smaller Tarok concept.

Neither of the concepts developed into consumer-available vehicles.

Volkswagen offers several internal-combustion-engine pickups outside the U.S., including the Amarok.

In its last pickup truck effort in the U.S., VW upsized its 1982 four-cylinder pickup trucks to 78 horsepower in gasoline models and 52 horsepower in the diesel trim. But sales stumbled. Volkswagen sold 37,392 pickup trucks in the U.S. in 1981. The tally fell to 2,079 in 1983.

James Raia, a syndicated columnist in Sacramento, California, publishes a free weekly automotive podcast and electronic newsletter. Sign-ups are available on his website, www.theweeklydriver.com. He can be reached via email: james@jamesraia.com.

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Sherry
23 days ago

We have a 1956 VW pick up single cab. It’s our little baby. 3 sides fold down so it’s easy to load and with a manual transmission can be towed flat. Gets like 25/gallon. We turn heads every where we go.