Volkswagen Atlas could spawn Ridgeline-rivaling pickup


The brand-new Atlas SUV (pictured) could help Volkswagen return to the pickup truck segment in the United States, according to a new report.

Matthias Erb, Volkswagen of North America's chief engineering officer, revealed to website CarBuzz that his team is evaluating the possibility of turning the Atlas into a pickup. The model would fight head-to-head against the Honda Ridgeline, which is an evolution of the Pilot.

A decision to move forward with the project hasn't been made yet. Erb revealed that executives are still considering expanding Volkswagen's U.S. lineup with a rugged, body-on-frame model, though it wouldn't be a full-size truck like the Chevrolet Silverado. "Body-on-frame trucks are a protected market," Erb explained.

The engineer shot down the recent rumors that claim the next-generation of the Amarok will be sold in the United States. The model currently sold overseas won't make the trip across the Atlantic because it's nearing the end of its life, but Volkswagen isn't planning on selling its replacement here, either.

Volkswagen will decide whether to develop a pickup for the United States market in the coming years. The Chicken Tax slaps a 25-percent tariff on all imported light trucks, so an Atlas-based pickup would most likely be assembled in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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