A response to Fractalfootwork's commentary on the idea of a Ranger ute
As the full-size truck market has grown over the years, most manufacturers in the segment have either stopped development on or outright cancelled their compact or mid-size pickup trucks, worried that those sales would cannibalize sales of their full-size cash cows. In the past few years, we've lost the Ford Ranger and the Dodge (Ram) Dakota, while the Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon, Nissan Frontier and the Toyota Tacoma haven't been developed in years and are probably on their way out before too long. This leaves a segment of the market wide open for someone to come in and fill the void.
That someone should be Volkswagen and the vehicle should be their Amarok. In production since 2009 in Argentina, the Amarok is about the size of the current Toyota Hi-Lux and similar light trucks sold just about everywhere but in North America. Available in two-door, extended cab and four-door layouts, the Amarok is available with either a gas engines or more importantly, a range of TDI Diesel engines. It is the Diesel engine, available with up to 177 horsepower and 310 lb./ft. of torque, that represents the killer app and a huge opportunity for Volkswagen, for several reasons.
1. Unlike the current players in the light truck segment, Volkswagen doesn't have the baggage of a full-size truck for the Amarok to steal sales from.
2. Volkswagen has plans on world domination, but in one of their largest markets, the ol' North of America, they've limited their market segmentation to small and mid-size cars, and CUVs/SUVs. They've also abandoned the minivan segment, but the Routan was a half-assed effort and probably doomed from the start.
3. Despite what truck manufacturers would have you believe, not everyone wants a full-size truck. I strongly believe that there is still a market for compact and mid-size trucks, and that the decision to abandon the segment isn't based on the market but on the production needs of the manufacturers (see #1).
So come on Volkswagen, give us the Amarok. We'll make it worth your while.