Putting an end to a long-standing rumor, Volkswagen has confirmed that it is considering making a return to the United States’ lucrative commercial vehicle segment after a decades-long hiatus.
Speaking with news agency Bloomberg, executives admitted that the Wolfsburg-based automaker is looking into entering the pickup segment, the van segment or even both. The two segments have been steadily growing over the past few years, and arch rival Mercedes-Benz recently announced plans to launch a new mid-size van called Metris in time for the 2016 model year.
Which van Volkswagen is considering selling in the U.S. is up in the air but the company has plenty to choose from. In Europe, it sells the Caddy, an all-new Ford Transit Connect-sized van that was introduced at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this month, the Transporter, a mid-size van set to be replaced by an all new model next month, and the starter home-sized Crafter, an aging range-topping model that shares the bulk of its components with the last-gen Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.
The current generation of the Amarok pickup truck (pictured) that has been sold in Europe and in a number of global markets since 2010 is not expected to reach U.S. shores for a few reasons. First, it’s much smaller than trucks like the Ford F-150 and the Chevrolet Silverado and second, it wasn’t designed to comply with U.S. regulations. However, we hear the next-gen model that will be unveiled before the end of the decade stands a good chance of spawning Volkswagen’s first U.S.-spec pickup since the demise of the Pennsylvania-built, Golf-based Caddy.
If given the green light, Volkswagen’s U.S.-bound commercial vehicles are expected to land on our shores in either late 2016 or early 2017. Regardless of what form they take, the commercial vehicles will go a long way in helping Volkswagen turn around its troubled U.S. arm and reach its goal of becoming the world’s largest automaker by 2018.