A fresh report out of Australia suggests that the planned strategic alliance between Volkswagen and Ford presents the most likely path for the Atlas Tanoak concept bakkie to make it into production.
Citing unnamed sources at VW’s headquarters in Wolfsburg, motoring.com.au reported that the most likely way the Tanoak would enter production would involve switching it from its MQB underpinnings to Ford’s body-on-frame architecture, essentially basing it on the Ranger.
The Australian publication added that if this were to happen, Ford would likely end up building the Tanoak for Volkswagen in North America.
An “insider” at VW told motoring.com.au that a decision to put the unibody Tanoak (rather than switching to Ford’s platform) into production was “not as obvious as people think”.
“Those full-size trucks [such as the Ford F-150] don’t make much money on the workhorse and fleet versions, but they make huge money on the private sales – up to 50 percent,” the source explained.
“But that richer mix just isn’t there yet at the next size down, which is where the Atlas Tanoak would be.”
The news follows earlier rumours out of Europe that VW was eager to save development costs on its second-generation (ladder-frame) Amarok by basing it on the Ranger, since the former is the only body-on-frame vehicle in the Wolfsburg-based automotive group’s line-up.
In August 2018, Volkswagen hinted that a production version of the Atlas Tanoak was looking more and more likely, with a US-based executive earlier stating that the automaker was “carefully” studying the business case.