Despite it being outed only a few days before its reveal, the debut of the Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak concept was quite the surprise at New York. But many of us are wondering the same thing: Why?
"We really showed this as a concept without a clear production plan behind it. Our intention [is] to demonstrate that we very seriously look into the American needs. ... Volkswagen wants to be part of this market much more seriously than in the past," said Volkswagen's North American CEO, Hinrich J. Woebcken during a media briefing.
Volkswagen's North America office wants to take more control as how the brand is run over the home office. We already saw some inkling of this when the main office in Wolfsburg allowed them to change the name of their three-row crossover from Teramont to Atlas.
The Tanoak also shows how far Volkswagen can take their MQB modular platform. It already underpins a number of models from the Jetta all the way to the Atlas.
Of course, the question arises whether or not Volkswagen plans on making the Tanoak a reality. Woebcken said the company has "definitely not decided," partly due to a number of factors.
"It all depends now if this market will appreciate more unibody pickup trucks. The C segment ... is a very high commercial use segment. Almost 70 percent of those vehicles are used in a commercial environment," explained Woebcken.
He could see a production version having "a higher chance on the lifestyle side," but even then, "we still have to study how that would work."