Schäfer’s revelation is a blow to dealer hopes to finally have a pickup in their U.S. lineups after asking for one for decades. And while it doesn’t directly contradict with what former VW of America CEO and now Scout Motors CEO Scott Keogh told Automotive News in May — “This platform could, could provide an opportunity for other group vehicles. Yes. I want to be clear on this thing: This platform could definitely provide an opportunity for non-Scout vehicles” — it does mean that it won’t be anytime soon.
Yet Di Si is undeterred.
“What are the relevant segments in the U.S.? SUVs and pickups. Are we going to have a pickup? I will try. Do we have one now? No,” Di Si said. “Right now, my focus is on strengthening the SUV portfolio. I will address pickups at the right time, but right now, I have other issues to tackle.”
Dealer John Luciano remains patient as Di Si settles into his new role.
“VW dealers need a truck in our lineup, and Pablo recognizes that,” said Luciano, owner of Street VW in Amarillo, Texas, and a former dealer council chairman. “He did wonderful things in Brazil, so we need to give him time. But we’ll take any truck at this point — gas, hybrid, electric. We need to be in those segments to compete with other brands, and Pablo and his team know that.”
Di Si, who headed up VW’s Latin American region before taking over North America on Sept. 1, spoke lovingly about the Tarok, the Latin America-developed compact unibody pickup concept shown at the 2019 New York auto show. The budget-friendly concept took advantage of VW’s global platform strategy to essentially use the parts bin to craft a Tiguan-sized all-wheel-drive pickup with a transformable bed perfectly suited for surfers in Brazil to carry their boards, Di Si explained.
“That was my baby,” Di Si told Automotive News. He said in his early meetings with VW dealers in the U.S., the Tarok has come up as a possibility for the market. “It’s on us. I take care of VW, and we have a huge and great portfolio of SUVs,” he said. “There’s no pickup here — yet. But time will tell. I think we have the knowledge. I think the segment is relevant. And we’re going to play the game and see where that kind of takes us.”