Is this an admission that Volkswagen is still weighing a Ford Everest-based SUV to sit alongside the Ranger-based Amarok?
The head of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles design, Albert Kirzinger, has posted an image of the Ford Everest-style off-road SUV that could have been.
While Mr Kirzinger has not gone as far as to confirm that a production version of a ute-based off-road wagon is coming, the sketch he posted on LinkedIn clearly indicates the brand was on that path in the early design phase of the Amarok dual-cab pick-up truck range.
“Exploring design ideas for the Amarok pickup truck! Our research phase back in the day took us on an off-road journey, and here’s a sneak peek with a rendering featuring a fully closed pickup bed. Ready for rugged adventures!” Mr Kirzinger posted.
It’s unlikely that VW will actually pursue such an addition to its range, despite the fact such a model would be walk-up start for many markets, including Australia, where such an off-road wagon could go up against the likes of the aforementioned Everest, as well as the Toyota Fortuner, Mitsubishi Pajero Sport and the Isuzu MU-X.
Indeed, at the launch of the Amarok range in Australia in 2023, Mr Kirzinger told this reporter that he didn’t see a specific requirement for such an SUV, with the dual-cab ute range easily holding its own alongside the Touareg, which is VW’s most off-road capable SUV.
At the time, Mr Kirzinger confirmed that VW Commercial Vehicles took the approach for Amarok to offer a premium commercial pickup, but not one that was trying to be an SUV.
“What the new Amarok can do, it’s so easy to go off-road. I posted yesterday a photo of the new one, side-by-side with the Touareg,” he said at the Australian launch of the Amarok in May 2023.
“For me, it was really nice to see the two cars on the road, side-by-side, and I said, ‘okay, I think our pickup is the new premium’.
“I think you can talk to customers – they want that power. And this is something new. We had a tremendous success with the existing one, with the V6, and even in big towns in Europe, as a status symbol.
“But now we’ve reached, really, to compete with such cars [as the Touareg]. This is new. No one [else] can do it.”
At an Amarok event in 2022, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles board member for marketing, Lars Krause, said the ute-based SUV idea was explored, but wasn’t pursued.
“It’s always an idea also to set up a robust SUV based on the pickup, but we do think that the setup of the pickup is currently best delivering value to our customers,” said Mr Krause.
“That means we are also offering accessories like a hardtop [canopy] – this will be available also from the beginning. So we are delivering extra customer value, and this is why we are focusing on the pickup.”
Do you wish VW would offer an Amarok-based off-road SUV? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.