Mention the words ‘Volkswagen’ and ‘Van’ in the same sentence and most North-Americans will think of the “Hippie van” or “Microbus” (which, incidentally, aren’t exactly cheap anymore). Though a sliver of respondents may think of the Routan, the slow-selling Chrysler-based van VW (thankfully) axed from its lineup in 2013, wed think that by and large VW’s flower-power people mover is the one best ingrained in the minds of most Americans. Even so, reports have VW eyeing the van market once again.
According to Bloomberg, the Wolfsburg-based automaker is in the midst of deciding whether or not to try its hand at a new van in the U.S. But that’s not all, as the mighty VW, whose sales tumbled 10 percent in the U.S. in 2014, is also toying with the idea of adding a pickup truck to its U.S. lineup.
“Pickup trucks are a dominating segment,” Eckhard Scholz, head of VW’s light commercial vehicle unit, said at a press conference in Hanover. “We’re looking at both options intensively.”
In international markets, Volkswagen successfully sells the Amarok pickup truck along with a host of other small commercial vehicles like the Caddy, Crafter, T5 and various minibuses. In total, VW’s global commercial division sold a healthy 445,000 vehicles in 2014. An impressive 292,000 of these were sold in Western Europe.
It remains to be seen whether VW plans to craft a true rival to full-size pickup trucks and sales giants like Ford’s F-150, or if it plans to import a version of the Amarok to compete in the re-merging small pickup space currently dominated by the Chevrolet Colorado. Notably, VW filed a trademark application for the Amarok name with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in May of 2014.
Either way, the automaker’s reported $7-billion dollar investment in its North American operations should help it bear some new automotive fruit.