File this under “insane” mode for potential business decisions. Volkswagen, struggling to gain significant market share in the US market, is looking to shake up its product mix.
On the plus side, there could be a revived VW Bus, that iconic transport of hippies and assorted counterculturalists in the 1960s.
According to Bloomberg, “Volkswagen AG, which became part of U.S. pop culture with its bug-eyed Microbus, is looking at getting back into the U.S. van market.”
Groovy! But then … there’s … this:
The German company could also sell a pickup truck as it examines opportunities to broaden its range in North America, Eckhard Scholz, head of the light commercial vehicle unit, said at a press conference in Hanover on Wednesday.
“Pickup trucks are a dominating segment,” while there’s also a trend in the U.S. toward compact European vans, Scholz said. “We’re looking at both options intensively.”
Before you say, “Um, WHAT?!” please note that VW did sell a pickup in the US in the 1980s, a woefully underpowered compact model that was like a Rabbit crossed with an El Camino.
And VW currently sells a small pickup in a lot of countries that aren’t the US. It’s called the Amarok (see the photo above).
But the operative concept here is not in the US.
Because nobody can sell pickups in the US if they aren’t General Motors, Ford, or Chrysler. The big three own the pickup market. Toyota tried to challenge them, and basically failed. Nissan’s pickups have been also-rans, although some have been popular with outdoor-sports types.
On the one hand, it’s refreshing to hear VW addressing its vehicle-mix problems in the US. The company is far from realizing its ambitions to come back to the US a big a way and challenge GM and Toyota.
On the other hand, however, it’s downright disturbing to see VW talking about, of all things, pickups as part of its US comeback strategy.
Let’s hope, for VW’s sake, this is just speculation.