Volkswagen could reconsider its decision to make an SUV model based on its Amarok pickup since it would apparently be necessary to justify developing electric vehicles on this platform. According to a recent report, the manufacturer would need to sell the Amarok not only as a pickup, but also as an SUV (a body style with much wider appeal) if it were to turn these models into EVs.
Australia’s WhichCar spoke to Petr Sulc, a senior member of VW’s global product management team who is quoted as saying
[A rugged SUV] was not a scope of the previous [commercial vehicle partnership] negotiations [with Ford], so it was really what we were telling them we are not interested in [that style of vehicle]. [But] I can imagine that if we should approach [Ford] for the battery-electric vehicle, that [the SUV] is having sense.
The current Amarok, the second generation of the vehicle, is not built by Volkswagen but by Ford at its Silverton facility in South Africa. It has the same underpinnings as Ford’s own Ranger, which in turn spawned the Everest SUV – the two vehicles share up to 80 percent of their components, thus dramatically reducing development costs for the manufacturer.
It doesn’t sound like the plan is set in stone, but VW definitely sounds interested in making an electric Amarok, and if an electric powertrain were to be developed for this vehicle, we would assume they would find their way into the two aforementioned Ford-badged vehicles too. VW would market these electric off-roaders globally, but it apparently would not interfere with sales of Scout-badged vehicles in North America.
He argues that while the Scout vehicles will face off against full-sized pickups like the Ford F-150 where competition is strong and buyer loyalty (to domestic brands and products) is very high, the two proposed Amarok-based EVs would slot in one size class below where buyers are more willing to not get something American. Buyer loyalty to American brands was probably a key factor in VW giving the Scout project the go-ahead, since it is hopefully a name that buyers will still remember and resonate with.
No word on when Amarok EVs would debut, or even if the project is in any way close to getting the green light, though. In the meantime VW announced it will invest $485-million in its home Wolfsburg plant where it plans to build the facelifted ID.3 hatchback, as well as an equivalent SUV model that will be built on the MEB+ platform.