VW may try reselling Fords
Volkswagen and Ford have joined up on electric cars, since VW wants to spread out its investments and Ford has pretty much just copied Toyota and leaned on Magna for its electrics and hybrids.
The next step may be pickups, but this time the product would be flowing from Ford to VW instead of the other way around. Volkswagen has shown a unibody Tanoak concept, based on the big-for-VW Atlas. However, Automotive News has speculated that it might just rebadge the Ford Ranger, at least in the United States, and call it the Amarok.
Volkswagen’s last try at selling a rebadged car was the slow-selling Routan minivan, built and engineered by Chrysler, using better suspension tuning. It was too far from Volkswagen’s small-car base to work; but a midsize pickup may succeed, even if it’s just a Ford underneath. Those who bought the Routan didn’t seem to know about the Chrysler underpinnings, but those who did know may have refused to buy it. Volkswagen charged a premium price, too, which may have slowed sales.
The last Volkswagen pickup in the United States had the styling and some of the mechanicals of the Rabbit, and flopped. The Atlas series is designed to be big, though; and there have been two mildly successful unibody pickups, the Jeep Comanche and Honda, neither of which set any sales records.
If VW does sell Ford Rangers under its own name, expect them to be a US-and-Canada-only deal. In the rest of the world, lighter, more efficient, and lower-payload-and-tow-capacity pickups would do the trick. And, of course, they could always confuse their customers and do both.
Clark Westfield grew up fixing up and driving past-their-prime American cars, including various GM and Mopar V8s. He has ghostwritten auto news for the last few years, lives in Farmingdale, New York, and can be reached at +1.516-531-4021.