Audi used to be one of the last names a car person would think about when the pickup truck segment was mentioned. However, that changed back in March when the carmaker’s CEO, Markus Duesmann, let it slip that the company is considering such a model. Reading between the lines, it appears that the Ingolstadt brand is testing the waters, so at least a concept car of the sort can be expected. And this virtual proposal, which comes from an independent artist, explores one of the two main scenarios for a potential Audi pickup.
Returning to the said show car and a possible production model following it, this expectation is based on what Audi’s head honcho said back in the Spring. “I can’t promise that we will do one, but we are looking into it,” Duesmann told autocar, with the head honcho adding that “Actually, we will present – not too far from now – maybe something,” which has led to the said show car expectation.
A badge-engineered Ford Ranger?
Now, there are two main routes that the four-ringed brand could pursue and we’ll start with the one depicted in this rendering. This would involve the carmaker simply applying its luxury treatment to a derivative of the 2023 Volkswagen Amarok.
Officially presented last month, the second-generation Amarok has been developed based on the 2022+ Ford Ranger. Unlike the Blue Oval model (has the 2023 Ranger Raptor worked its charms on you yet?), the new Amarok isn’t coming to the U.S., with the bulk of sales expected to be delivered by Australia, Europe, and Africa. However, an upscale Audi version would avoid cannibalization.
Coming from a digital artist known as Theottle, the pixel portrait builds on the Ranger by borrowing the styling cues of Audi’s latest—and largest—SUV, the China-only Q6. This is an ICE (internal combustion engine) effort based on the VW Atlas mid-size SUV that was developed for the North American and Chinese markets.
Note that the Q6 has nothing to do with the Q6 e-tron, an upcoming all-electric SUV that shares its PPE battery architecture with the next-gen Porsche Macan and should debut in 2023. And we mentioned this EV scenario since it would seem like a more successful path for the possible Audi pickup truck.
An all-electric truck from Audi sounds like a more viable way into this market
Sure, more recent high-end versions of full-size pickup trucks from Detroit’s Big Three might indicate a certain appetite for lavish trucks. But, if we look at the previous two decades, we’ll notice the market has rejected high-priced, badge-engineered pickups.
And while examples from Lincoln and Cadillac are more or less justified when talking about an Audi tied to the Amarok II, the Mercedes-Benz X-Class easily shows why such a newcomer would have limited appeal. Introduced in 2017 and based on the Nissan Navara, the three-pointed star’s lavish truck exercise was a flop, with the model being discontinued in 2020—not too many people wanted to pay a serious premium for a better interior and a premium badge. Unless some eccentric builder turned the X-Class into a 6×6 monster, of course…
Instead, if Audi decided to introduce an all-electric pickup truck, such a project would have greater chances of succeeding. For one, names like Ford, Rivian, and GM (isn’t the GMC Hummer EV a lovely beast?) have already carved a way for battery-powered trucks, while Tesla and others are set to join the segment in the coming years.
And since Audi has vowed to an all-electric future starting in 2026, a battery-animated pickup truck seems like the only reasonable choice for the German automaker.