Pickup Trucks: Can Audi Succeed Where Mercedes Failed? - story fullscreen Fullscreen

Pickup Trucks: Can Audi Succeed Where Mercedes Failed?

What would you think about a pickup truck with an Audi badge plastered across the tailgate?

The idea of a luxury-level truck isn’t anything new. Some of the range-topping models from the Ford F-Series and the Chevy Silverado range certainly hit close to that border. Mercedes even tried to give it a go with the X-Class, but the approach was super lazy (it was basically a Nissan Navara with Mercedes emblems). Now, it looks like Audi is at least considering the idea of dipping its toes into the pool. Could it be that Audi doesn’t only want to pick up were Mercedes failed but actually compete with higher-range models of the Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux? Well, this isn’t just some random rumor, and the concept is coming from someone with a lot of influence within the walls of Audi.

An Audi Pickup Truck – Could It Actually Happen?

Pickup Trucks: Can Audi Succeed Where Mercedes Failed? Interior
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If you’re like me, when you hear the name Audi, you think about mid-level luxury cars, mid-level luxury SUVs, or even sports cars like the Audi TT or Audi R8. One thing you’d never think of is a pickup truck, but according to Audi’s CEO, Markus Duesmann, that might not always be the case. During a press meeting along with other CEOs from Bentley, Lamborghini, and Ducati, Duesmann was asked if an Audi pickup was a possibility and his answer was very intriguing: “I can’t promise that we will do one, but we are looking into it.”

Pickup Trucks: Can Audi Succeed Where Mercedes Failed? Exterior
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Note: The Audi AI:Trail concept shown here could serve as a basis for new Audi truck if it was to happen)

Unfortunately, Duesmann wouldn’t be convinced to give any other details, assuming that there are any, but he did hit at some kind of concept of potential confirmation. He said, “Actually, we will present – not too far from now – maybe something.” For what it’s worth, an Audi pickup would never become a Bentley pickup, with Bentley CEO, Adrian Hallmark, jokingly saying “I would not love to have one in the Bentley portfolio.” The real question is where is Audi going to derive this potential pickup from? Will it build its own design from the ground up based on one of its other architectures? Will it rebadge an existing model from another company?

Pickup Trucks: Can Audi Succeed Where Mercedes Failed? Exterior
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One potential move at this stage would be to leverage its working ties with Volkswagen. Both companies exist under the VAG umbrella and parts sharing isn’t a new thing. Volkswagen just so happens to be planning the second-gen Amarok which, surprisingly, is based on the Ford Ranger – essentially a child born from a strategic partnership. Audi could just as easily take the same chassis and technology and build its own truck. Let’s just hope Audi does a better job than Mercedes did when it tried to fool the world with that Nissan X-Class. If Audi does go this route, it could feature the same engines and, perhaps, even be built-in Silvertown South Africa just like the Amarok. That model will feature a 2.0-liter diesel four-cylinder or a 3.0-liter Diesel V-6.

There is a completely different path that Audi can go, though, and that’s diving into the modular electric vehicle platforms that are being developed across the VW group. These platforms, thanks to their wide potential for use, make it easier and more cost-effective for automakers to build low-volume cars as the bulk of their technical makeup is shared across a number of models. This could invoke the use of the MEB architecture or the PPE platform that Audi and Porsche have been developing. Both are designed to support AWD and both could serve as the basis for an all-electric pickup truck. Of course, that wouldn’t really keep with the idea of competing with the Ranger or the Hilux, but it might give Audi a unique position on the market for now.

Source: Autocar

Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topspeed.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
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