Expected to be unveiled on Wednesday, the truck is said to be based off the Atlas SUV structure. What's more, it would be built in the Chattanooga assembly plant in Tennessee, instead of being imported from elsewhere; the Amarok, for example, is built in Argentina.
Automotive News quotes an insider source as saying VW CEO Herbert Diess has backed the project from a very early stage. We reached out to VW's U.S. operation, whose spokesman couldn't comment.
Like any CEO, Diess is eager to improve Volkswagen's profitability, and a pickup truck could be an answer to that on the U.S. market; VW hasn't sold a pickup in the U.S. since the Rabbit's light truck derivative was built in the Westmoreland plant in the early '80s. Still, Volkswagen has kept its eye on the pickup market, and VW executives addressed the subject in a 2014 interview with Autoblog.
However, unlike the Amarok, the new truck would be unibody, based on the MQB platform. That would mean a more lifestyle-oriented truck, instead of a ladder-frame truck like the Amarok. Volkswagen has already announced the Atlas would spawn more variants, such as the sportier five-passenger sibling; maybe the Atlas will support an entire model lineup on its shoulders.