Column: VW sellers want a pickup


If there’s one place the place Volkswagen lags — pun meant — it is velocity to market. And no one is aware of that higher than VW’s U.S. sellers.

Want a proof level? Strolling by the VW show on the press day of this month’s Los Angeles Auto Present, I used to be struck by how many individuals had been climbing throughout VW’s ID Buzz minivan, a car that was first proven in idea kind in January 2017, hasn’t modified a lot and nonetheless is not obtainable right here. Pandemic or not, that is the automotive definition of slooooowwww.

My level is to not bemoan the Buzz however to say VW’s failure over the past decade to place a pickup — any pickup — onto U.S. dealership heaps is an nearly Shakespearean-level tragedy and an indictment of the German automaker’s lack of market agility, a minimum of in Wolfsburg.

Let me be clear: I’ve lined VW of America underneath three totally different CEOs: Hinrich Woebcken, Scott Keogh and now Pablo Di Si. Every one knew VW sellers wanted a pickup to a minimum of give them a shot to compete within the roughly 15 p.c of the U.S. market the place the dearth of a mattress leaves an automaker on the sideline. VW’s sellers do, too; they have been asking for a pickup for 20 years.

And but the worldwide automaker identified for its platform technique and legendary components bin could not cobble collectively a convincing-enough marketing strategy to make it a actuality. That is even after in-market designers confirmed them how. In 2018, VW unveiled an Atlas-based way of life idea pickup, the Atlas Tanoak, in New York that was proper out of the components bin. A 12 months later, it confirmed the Tiguan-sized Tarok idea that Di Si’s crew in Latin America drew up. Both would have been effective for VW sellers and nonetheless could be.

Now VW executives, together with Di Si, argue that any pickup from the model must be electrical, given the automaker’s present product plan. High-quality. Then make a pickup from the MEB platform, which underlies the present ID4.

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