VW: Vans & trucks ‘represent an opportunity’ in the U.S.

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With plenty of seats already at the commercial van table, is Volkswagen the next to pull up a chair?

It certainly looks like it.

This has been a banner year for launching and refreshing commercial van lineups, and Jonathan Browning, CEO of VW’s U.S. operations, told Reuters this week that bringing a pickup and/or commercial van to the U.S. “certainly represent an opportunity”.

The Caddy, Volkswagen’s commercial van born as the Rabbit pickup, is already available in Europe and other markets, and the boon of commercial vans stateside has sparked interest in getting the the Caddy on American roads. 

Volkswagen has set a goal of becoming the largest automaker in the world by 2018. Any implementation of a truck or van in the U.S. would take at least a year and an additional year – at a minimum – to begin building marketshare.

Is it possible we’ll have a new player alongside the Ram ProMaster, Ford Transit Connect, the coming Chevy-Nissan spawn Chevrolet City Express, the Nissan NV200 and its fully electric LEAF-based counterpart by 2016?

It’s not only possible, it’s likely. In Europe, the Caddy van comes in five variations. Don’t be shocked to find one or more on a roadway near you in the next 24 months. 

“There are preliminary discussions but no definitive plans at the moment,” Browning told Reuters.

 VW isn’t going to evolve into the global player it’s set its sights on without a truck entry in the U.S. market. With the commercial van segment growing, it only makes sense to bring the two over at the same time. 

The Caddy’s four-cylinder common rail diesel engines already in use in Europe would be a good fit in a market thirsty for small displacement, fuel efficient engines. 

Volkswagen’s got some inroads to make on horsepower, especially with the 2.0 turbo diesel truck engine. However, if the mixture of fuel economy, horsepower and sticker price come ashore in the U.S. as part of some perfect storm, 2018 could be a time to celebrate for VW.