The segment is dominated by Japanese and US manufacturers, and has a relatively low profile in Europe. But it has "high-growth global potential", said Schaller, and Volkswagen's strong presence in Latin America has been a major driver in its decision to build the vehicle. It will be produced at Volkswagen's Pacheco factory in Argentina from the third quarter of 2009.
As well as Brazil and Argentina, Volkswagen believes the pick-up will be a strong seller in other markets such as South Africa, Australia and Southeast Asia. Total annual production will be 100,000 pick-ups, and European sales will start in 2010. It will be built in right-hand drive as both Australia and South Africa are RHD markets.
Volkswagen executives said it would be possible to produce a body-on-chassis SUV on the same platform, but there were no immediate plans to do this. Schaller believes the use of its advanced common-rail turbodiesel engines in the as-yet unnamed pick-up will be "a groundbreaking development in the pick-up segment".
Volkswagen has dabbled in the pick-up segment before, with the Golf Mk1-based Caddy in the 1980s, as well as a version of the Toyota Hilux in the 1990s, which was sold as the Volkswagen Taro.