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"We want to be a relevant player" in a truck-crazed market, says CEO.

There are few surprises at auto shows these days, at least from a media perspective, automakers routinely signaling what they've got coming, usually offering press kits and pictures well in advance of a product's official debut. Volkswagen, over the years, has certainly taken its learnings seriously.

While that's just a show vehicle for now, the big question is whether it signals the automaker's intent on getting back into the truck game for the first time in decades. Like the Tanoak, the Honda Ridgeline pickup, is a unibody architecture - essentially a large crossover with a truck bed.

Before revamping its SUV lineup, Volkswagen had struggled to make headway in the USA market because of its reliance on smaller passenger cars - a strategy that was successful in Europe, Asia, and South America, but didn't align with Americans' preferences for larger vehicles. A more mainstream Atlas Cross Sport is seen as a better fit as a sportier two-row SUV for the US than the departed Touareg.

For what is billed as a midsize pickup, the Atlas Tanoak concept is not small - 214.1 inches long, 79.9 inches wide and 72.6 inches tall. And it's actually about the same length as the shortest versions of both the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado.

The concept has also been raised two inches compared to the Atlas, yielding 9.8 inches of ground clearance.

The interior is also based on the Atlas but highly digitized in this concept truck.

The Cross Sport is designed in America for Americans which is 7.5 inches shorter than the seven-seat Atlas.

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Those numbers speak to the flexibility of Volkswagen's modular MQB platform.

The PHEV version has five driving modes, including an all-electric E-Mode that will give 26 miles of range.

It adds a 40-kilowatt (54-horsepower) electric motor to the 276-hp 3.6-liter twin-turbo V-6 now used in the Atlas, powering the front wheels through a 6-speed dual-clutch transmission. That lets a driver shift between a variety of different on- and off-road modes. VW claims the Tanoak is capable of a 0-60mph in 8.5 seconds.

The same exaggerated proportions continue at the rear, with the bed clearly distinct from the double-cab by virtue of a sweeping trim line. Some might counter: why wouldn't it.

He would not say which one he expects to be the bigger seller of the two. The Atlas was basically designed in the US and is meant for a home market.

Volkswagen claims a zero-to-60 miles per hour time of 8.5 sec. for the Tanoak concept truck, though it's not intended as a drag racer.

The question, coming out of Wednesday's debut of the Tanoak is whether it's meant to be more than a mission statement and tease a product actually under development.

Speaking about the current state of affairs, Steffen said, that the dealers and service centres are working hard to provide the best solutions to auto buyers within the confines of the worldwide standards of service that can be applied to the Indian vehicle market as well.


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