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If VW does make a pickup, it could be electric

Volkswagen of America COO Johan de Nysschen believes electrification "could represent an opportunity" for the brand to finally offer a truck in the US.

VW Tanoak Concept
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VW Tanoak Concept

Volkswagen originally showed this Tanoak concept in 2018.

Volkswagen

It's been almost two years since showed us the Tanoak, the German automaker's conceptual vision of a midsize pickup. In the years since, we've heard the company really wants to build it and is still investigating a business case. Now, however, Volkswagen believes the way into the pickup segment in the US might actually be through electrification.

"Electrification is like a reset," Johan de Nysschen, chief operating officer at Volkswagen of America, told Roadshow during an interview Thursday. "It's changed the definition of the product concept."

Speaking about the US pickup segment, de Nysschen knows the American manufacturers are the heavy hitters. " has been trying forever. Nissan has been trying forever. The American manufacturers kind of have that," he said. "If you try to do a me-too, you won't get anywhere."

Instead, de Nysschen said electrification "could represent an opportunity" for VW to bring a pickup to market. "It is something we can look at more legitimately for feasibility into the future."

An electric pickup could certainly make some sense, especially with all the buzz surrounding the onslaught of electric trucks that are expected to arrive in the coming years. No, Volkswagen's entry likely wouldn't compete with the GMC Hummer EVs and Tesla Cybertrucks of the world, but a midsize electric offering could be interesting.

Volkswagen has long said it thinks EVs can provide a sort of "magic moment" for the brand in the US. The company has not been shy about building fun electric concepts, like the ID Buzz or ID Buggy. A pickup is definitely more grounded in reality, but as the company looks to expand its electrified US offerings, it could kill two birds with one stone.

VW Atlas Tanoak pickup is still a hard maybe

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Watch this: Volkswagen Tanoak is the latest forbidden fruit at the New York Auto Show
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Steven Ewing Former managing editor
Steven Ewing spent his childhood reading car magazines, making his career as an automotive journalist an absolute dream job. After getting his foot in the door at Automobile while he was still a teenager, Ewing found homes on the mastheads at Winding Road magazine, Autoblog and Motor1.com before joining the CNET team in 2018. He has also served on the World Car Awards jury. Ewing grew up ingrained in the car culture of Detroit -- the Motor City -- before eventually moving to Los Angeles. In his free time, Ewing loves to cook, binge trash TV and play the drums.
Steven Ewing
Steven Ewing spent his childhood reading car magazines, making his career as an automotive journalist an absolute dream job. After getting his foot in the door at Automobile while he was still a teenager, Ewing found homes on the mastheads at Winding Road magazine, Autoblog and Motor1.com before joining the CNET team in 2018. He has also served on the World Car Awards jury. Ewing grew up ingrained in the car culture of Detroit -- the Motor City -- before eventually moving to Los Angeles. In his free time, Ewing loves to cook, binge trash TV and play the drums.

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steven-ewing-headshot
Steven Ewing Former managing editor
Steven Ewing spent his childhood reading car magazines, making his career as an automotive journalist an absolute dream job. After getting his foot in the door at Automobile while he was still a teenager, Ewing found homes on the mastheads at Winding Road magazine, Autoblog and Motor1.com before joining the CNET team in 2018. He has also served on the World Car Awards jury. Ewing grew up ingrained in the car culture of Detroit -- the Motor City -- before eventually moving to Los Angeles. In his free time, Ewing loves to cook, binge trash TV and play the drums.
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