This week, CEO Markus Duesmann dropped hints about an Audi truck. Let’s hope he’s just messing with us.
At the moment, there’s loads on interesting stuff on the radar at Audi. From the Audi A6 Avant e-tron concept, to Ken Block’s reimagined quattro S1, the push toward electrification is producing some stunning machines, and a plan for self-driving vehicles is also beginning to take shape. But Audi CEO Markus Duesmann threw us a real curve ball this week, because as Autocar reports, when he was asked about the potential for an Audi pickup truck, he said: “I can’t promise that we will do one, but we are looking into it.” Duesmann followed up that bombshell with “Actually, we will present — not too far from now — maybe something.” Yikes.
Now, I want to phrase this carefully, so I’m just going to say this is a stupid idea and I hate it. Any Audi truck would likely be based on the Volkswagen Amarok, which is in turn based on the Ford Ranger. So it’s not like we’d be looking at some startlingly original piece of kit that would shake up the market. We’d be looking at another badge-engineered vehicle designed to move units and not goalposts or spirits. And honestly? I don’t even see who’d buy this thing. Here in the States, it’d be good for diluting Audi’s brand image, and not much else.
That said, I’m willing to admit that the market overseas could prove different. Maybe Audi could really stoke the appeal of the pickup in Europe. But is that really a good thing? Does the world really need to follow America’s lead here, and get everyone hooked on driving vehicles that are bigger than they need and mostly unpractical unless you need to move a couch? Also, what does the potential for a pickup do for Audi’s electric ambitions? Does the brass want to slap a big fat asterixis on its roadmap so something wearing the Four Rings can haul gravel? Probably not.
Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve never been a truck fan. But now that my obviously biased hot take is wrapping up, I will say I like the idea of a wicked Audi off-roader. I just think it should be based on the RS Q e-tron. That’s an innovative, forward-looking, and wicked performer that made history at the Dakar Rally, and would provide loads of fun for legions of off-road fans. It would also be in line with the company’s efforts toward sustainability, and could upend the very idea of what a modern off-road vehicle looks like. But what do you think? Is an Audi truck a good idea? Is a street-legal RS Q e-tron? Hit me up and let me know!