When Volkswagen whipped the covers off its Atlas Tanoak concept in March 2018, it said that it had no plans to put the unibody bakkie into production (although the brand did add that it was “keen to gauge the reactions of buyers and media”). Now, the automaker says it is still “carefully” studying the business case.

Speaking to Autocar, Hinrich Woebcken, who holds the role of CEO for Volkswagen in the North American region, seemed positive but noncommittal.

“It fits the brand well, because we want to get more American in the US, but it’s something we have to look at carefully,” he told the British publication.

“It’s a very patriotic segment, which American manufacturers dominate,” Woebcken added.

Unlike the Amarok, which runs on a ladder-frame chassis, the Atlas Tanoak concept rides on the Wolfsburg-based automaker’s latest modular passenger vehicle architecture, and appears closely related to the seven-seater Atlas.

Named after a species of tree native to the Pacific Coast in the United States, the Atlas Tanoak concept measures 5 438 mm long, 2 029 mm wide and 1 844 mm tall, with a wheelbase of 3 259 mm. That makes it a little larger than the Amarok, which measures 5 254 mm long, with 3 095 mm between its axles.

The double-cab bakkie seats five and is powered by a 3,6-litre V6 petrol engine (worth 206 kW and 360 N.m), mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and 4Motion all-wheel drive. VW says it will hit 100 km/h from standstill in around 8,5 seconds.

The concept, which rides on new 20-inch alloys wrapped in 275/55 rubber, also has a mode that provides a low-range gear reduction.