Midway through 2017 was when Volkswagen really started rolling out their SUV assault on the North American market. The spearhead in that siege was the Atlas, an 7-seater that was designed and engineered with the specific needs of that region in mind to make up for ground lost by the flat-footed response garnered by the Touareg.
Ironically, following the unveil of the all-new Touareg in Beijing, Volkswagen has some plans brewing for the Atlas as a springboard. At this week’s New York Motor Show, it has been confirmed that a smaller 5-seat version of the Atlas will be unveiled ahead of its planned production rollout later this year.
The move makes sense, though we are left wonder what exactly is wrong with the very competent Tiguan as mid-size SUV contender for that market given that they will ostensibly be going after a similar type of buyer at a similar price. That said, we’ll have to wait and see what VW has in store for the Big Apple debut to determine whether it might cannibalise one of their most established offerings.
Whether or not it ends up resembling this render by Ascariss Design is up in the air, but more than a little probable.
Aside from that, though, Volkswagen has broader plans for the Atlas, having also apparently having green lit a concept from that would go after the mid-size pickup category. According to a report by Autonews, VW are more keen to test the waters here than lobbing this to be fast-tracked for production.
Given that it will be a derivative of the Atlas, it won’t feature a ladder frame chassis like most trucks but rather built on the same modular MQB that underpins nearly every other Wolfsburg product currently. A source tells the newswire that, should the concept receive a positive reception, the company will look more closely at its viability as a new model; probably one that’s specific to North America and produced in their factory in Tennessee.
Being something ‘midsized’ means that it would enter a regional landscape void of German competition with Mercedes-Benz electing to not sell their X-Class due to cost and image concerns, among others.
Then again, to Volkswagen, what would be so wrong with the Amarok? After all, it’s been pretty handy so far in going head to head with the T6 Ranger here, and we’d imagine it to be just as effective in US, where Ford only just started selling it as a little brother to the F-150.