In the long ongoing saga that is Fiat Chrysler Automobiles looking for partners to merge and/or collaborate with enters Volkswagen. Sources say initial meetings indicate planning for future light-duty vehicles including Volkswagen’s Amarok – a vehicle U.S. dealers and VW fans have been eagerly awaiting.
The report filed in the Dow Jones Newswires says, Volkswagen and FCA officials talked recently in Berlin about joint production of light-duty vehicles like the Volkswagen Caddy panel van and the Amarok.
This news comes on the heels of the reports last week of the Great Wall Motor Company, a Chinese automaker, expressing interest in purchasing FCA outright. Both companies have denied the report.
Whether being bought out completely or working collaborating with other automakers, it is clear something is going on at FCA. Collaboration makes the most sense with recent reports of Toyota and Mazda working together as a great example of how that would happen.
For VW fans and consumers, the net result could be a U.S. version of the Amarok being built in a FCA North American plant. This would allow VW to avoid the Chicken Tax surcharge on importing light-duty trucks. It would also allow them to have a player in the mid-size truck market – a growing segment of the market.
Currently, VW continues to rely on its car lineup in the U.S. This segment of the market has seen a significant downturn. A new 3-row Atlas SUV just now hitting the market and the new of a VW electric bus coming in 2022 will both help to broaden their portfolio, yet they fall short of a truck.
A U.S. VW Amarok would likely resemble much of the other mid-size players in the market with its shape and size. While a diesel option would be popular, it is really hard to see VW offering such an engine in light of all its emissions issues with that powertrain. It is likely there will be a 4×4 version and a upper trim level.
When will it come? Predicting the future is difficult with preliminary talks, however, if they moved forward with this plan, I would expect a truck to hit the market in 2022+. The only real question facing VW executives is if it will be too little, too late.