Volkswagen says it “made sense” to pair with Ford as its lead development partner for the Amarok ute.
But it saw less merit in creating its own version of the Ford Ranger-based Everest SUV, and as such hasn’t committed to one.
Therefore, don’t expect to see a body-on-frame Volkswagen SUV any time soon, nor one with more off-road and towing capability than the premium Audi Q7-based Touareg.
“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 Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles board member for marketing, Lars Krause, this week.
“That means we are also offering accessories like 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.”
As well as the Everest, other ‘ute-based’ rugged SUVs in Australia include the Isuzu MU-X (based on the D-Max), Toyota Fortuner (HiLux), and Mitsubishi Pajero Sport (Triton).
These sorts of off-roaders are hugely popular in Australia among regional families, those who tow, and go off-roading. But from a global perspective, it’s not a major consideration for Volkswagen, given where it focuses its efforts.