The popularity of lifestyle pickups, for people who like the look of but don’t really need a truck, is on the rise, even in places outside the United States. Proof of this is the fact that some automakers that traditionally didn’t make pickups are entering the segment (Hyundai with the Santa Cruz, for instance).
Volkswagen isn’t necessarily associated with pickups either, although it does sell the Amarok in Europe and at one point it showed a concept (the Tarok) that got people talking. The Tarok, or the larger Tanoak, never materialized and they never will as ICE trucks, yet there is still a chance they might become a reality, but only as fully-electric trucks.
Automotive News quotes Duncan Movassaghi, Executive Vice President for Sales and Marketing for Volkswagen of America, as saying
Our priority within the Volkswagen brand is to keep our existing [internal combustion engine-based] vehicles competitive. Investing at this time into a niche ICE [compact pickup] segment would not make sense for us. As we transform our lineup to BEV, an electric pickup could for sure be an option.
This is obviously quite far from a confirmation that VW is actually developing such a model, but what Movassaghi said is the automaker is considering it. And it would make sense to try to sell a BEV truck in America, in a segment that is quickly gaining popularity even though it’s currently lacking in models (the Rivian R1T will be the first to arrive, but it is a big and expensive truck that may not be for everyone).
Would Volkswagen’s MEB platform be suitable for a light-duty pickup? Well, according to an older report which quotes Volkswagen of America Senior Vice President of Product Marketing and Strategy, Hein Schafer, then answer would be yes. Schafer said that through the use of the MEB architecture
Does give us potentially the opportunity to bring some kind of small midsize pickup or maybe something a little bit larger. It wouldn't be a myth to think potentially about something larger on the BEV platform, too. If we do build a large SUV on the BEV platform, then a large pickup might also make sense.
These are not the only high-ranking VW officials to mention the company is considering a BEV truck, but so far the manufacturer has not shown one in concept form, which is what it’s done for most of its new range of ID electric vehicles. Probably the simplest approach to the VW electric pickup problem would be to just make a pickup version of the upcoming production version of the ID Buzz concept (that’s set to be launched in 2023).