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The Rumor Mill Has A New VW SUV Heading To The U.S.

VW Australia may have a new SUV in development that may just be heading for the U.S. -- maybe. The one fly in the ointment, the engine.

Although it probably won’t come as news to anyone who has followed cars or a car brand longer than five minutes or so, there are many interesting vehicles overseas that never make it here to the good old U.S. of A. Take, for example, the VW Amarok pickup. It’s a hot vehicle in its home market, Australia, but, it will never make it here – it is not in the cards.

There is some indication coming from Down Under that an SUV, based on the pickup, may make it here – with emphasis on the word may. Being that as it may, the Australian auto information outlet Motoring says that VW Group Australia has put plans in the hopper back in Wolfsburg asking for an SUV based on the Amarok, the Aussieland pickup.

”Not confirmed Yet”

The publication was told by Carlos Santos, VW Group Australia commercial vehicles director, that there is some “serious development happening at the moment for an SUV based on Amarok … It’s not confirmed yet, but it’s been going on since the start of the Amarok.”

Here’s where the information gets a bit squirrely. Says Santos, the SUV would be powered by the turbodiesel that has been slammed by the Dieselgate scandal. Santos told Motoring: “The discussion has been reignited because obviously, this V-6 engine is able to be sold in the U.S. The 2.0-liter would never get into the States, but the V-6 is the same” in the Porsche Cayenne and VW Touareg. Santos called it a “proven engine.”

Here’s the thing about Santos’ comment, that “dog ain’t hunting right now!” Unless he has been living in a complete vacuum – perhaps VW divisions don’t talk but, somehow, that seems unbelievable – or maybe in the bush, you would think Santos might know that the 3.0-liter V6 (at least 85,000 of them) are involved in VW’s self-inflicted emissions scandal. Those are the ones that have managed to make it into the wild; there are who knows how many others are sitting on dealer lots, just waiting for buyers to take them home. Unfortunately for the poor V-6s, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has put them on sales-hold until the Dieselgate scandal has been resolved in the U.S. There’s no sign when that will happen.

Still, it’s nice to think that an SUV based on the Amarok, a very capable pickup whose styling is along the lines of the Nissan Armada, might just make it here, even if it’s only as an SUV.

If the Amarok-based SUV were to make it here, it would be as a seven-passenger, off-roader. In Australia, the primary competition would be the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado and Ford Everest – both vehicles that are, of course, not available here. If the Amarok-based SUV were to be sold here, its competition would be full-sized SUVs in the Land Cruiser or, perhaps, the full-sized Ford Expedition.

CrossBlue Concept Crossover

It’s not as if the U.S. won’t have a seven-passenger VW available. When the CrossBlue concept vehicle finally appears here – it is slated for production in Chattanooga – the automaker will have the seven-passenger crossover that it lacks. However, that crossover doesn’t fall in the land ark-sized SUV that is represented by the Land Cruiser or Expedition.

And, there’s no ultimate guarantee that the Amarok-based SUV will make it either here or Down Under, although Santos is confident it will happen, at least on the other side of the globe. “We’ve got the volume to justify the investment,” he said. He is likely referring to the 2,000 customers who have already bought out the Australian allocation of V-6-based Amarok pickups.

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