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VW, Jeep Again Looking at Options for U.S. Pickups

A resurgent midsize pickup segment could draw new contenders.

by on Mar.06, 2014

The current VW Amarok is not sold in the U.S. market and may be too small to import.

Only a few years ago, the pundits were writing off full-size pickups as dinosaurs set to vanish from the market. But last year they set their best sales mark since the crash of the U.S. automotive market.  Now, many analysts are starting to rethink forecasts predicting the demise of the midsize truck segment.  That apparently includes product planners for both Volkswagen AG and Jeep.

In recent years, the segment has dwindled to insignificance and key players like Ford and Chrysler have abandoned their entries. Ford actually developed a new version of its Ranger for global markets but decided against bringing it to the States.

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But with General Motors counter-programming, as it were, with the new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon models, might other manufacturers follow?

There are several who continue to consider their options, including both of the Korean carmakers, Hyundai and Kia.  But the makers most likely to take some action could be Detroit-based Jeep, and German giant Volkswagen AG — which already has an option available, the midsize Amarok pickup it sells in a wide range of overseas markets.

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Jeep Readies Concepts for Moab Trek

Sales rebound straining SUV brand’s production capacity.

by on Mar.27, 2012

picture credit: Jim McCraw

The Jeep Wrangler Apache, with its 6.2-liter Hemi, can power over almost any obstacle. All photos: Credit Jim McCraw.

Update: photo credits were inadvertently omitted; all photos: Jim McCraw.

The folks at Jeep are used to overcoming some tough obstacles – like the ones on Utah’s grueling Moab Trail, which serves as the site of the maker’s annual Easter Safari.

But even as Jeep officials rolled out an assortment of SUV concepts specifically designed for the Moab run, they acknowledged they’re facing some even tougher challenges in the months ahead.  But it’s not all bad news.

“We’re selling out of every model, every month,” said Jim Morrison, director of Jeep Brand marketing, during a Tuesday new conference.

In the Know!

In fact, it’s a problem compounded by Jeep’s increasing popularity outside the U.S., Mike Manley, president of the Jeep brand, told reporters at corporate headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan.  Jeep is not only short of vehicles in the US but also in Australia, China and Europe where demand for its vehicles has been very strong.

“We’re still running ahead of the industry,” said Manley, who noted Jeep sales are up 37% worldwide this year.

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