Volkswagen is Still Considering the Tanoak Pickup
Don’t wait for a decision to happen anytime soon, but it could still happen at some point in the futureby Kirby, on
Volkswagen introduced the Tanoak Concept at the New York Auto Show with the intention of gauging the public’s interest in the possibility of a production model. It’s taken a bit of time to read into the fleshed-out pickup’s reception, but it looks like there’s momentum within VW that a production model is something that can’t be dismissed outright. No decision has been made yet, and don’t expect one to be announced soon, but a production version of the Tanoak isn’t dead yet.
For now, it appears that VW execs are leaning towards going for it, but the direction of the wind can change at any moment.
Despite the positive reception that the Tanoak Concept received in New York a few months ago, Volkswagen still needs to answer a few questions before it commits to building a production model. Is it something that American buyers will be interested in? Can Volkswagen create its own niche in a market that’s largely dominated by American companies? Is it even worth Volkswagen’s time given the competition it’s about to face?
Answering these questions is far more complicated than it looks. That’s not to say that Volkswagen hasn’t thought about it. The company’s U.S. boss, Heinrich Woebcken, spoke to Autocar about the possibility, saying that a Tanoak pickup “fits the brand well and [Volkswagen] wants to get more American in the U.S.” But it’s still something that the Germans need to look into seriously before committing the financial and logistical resources it needs to get production up and running.
If Volkswagen decides to give the Tanoak the green light, it will have to prepare to spend a lot of money on development and production
If Volkswagen decides to give the Tanoak the green light, it will have to prepare to spend a lot of money on development and production, not to mention the reconfiguration of its resources in the Chattanooga assembly plant in the U.S. More importantly, it has to understand what it’s stepping into. The midsize pickup segment in the U.S. is as healthy as it’s ever been. A lot of rival models, including the Toyota Tacoma, Chevrolet Colorado, and GMC Canyon, are all posting healthy sales results. The Colorado, in particular, saw its 2Q 2018 sales rise 38.9 percent, amounting to an increase of almost 20,000 units sold compared to the same period last year. The Tacoma has also scored big this year, with year-to-date volume spiking 23.3 percent.
There’s clearly a market for the Tanoak in the U.S. should Volkswagen decide to build a production version. The challenge lies in Volkswagen developing a model that American buyers will gravitate to. It’s not going to be easier now that Ford is bringing the highly anticipated Ranger back into these shores, but where’s the fun in a challenge if it was easy in the first place?
Volkswagen is going to have its work cut out for it. That much is clear. But whether it embraces that challenge or decides to park the Tanoak on the sidelines are questions only the German automaker can answer. For now, it appears that VW execs are leaning towards going for it, but as is all things in the auto industry, the direction of the wind can change at any moment.
Read our full review on the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak Concept.
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