Plot twist: the T7's arrival doesn't mean the T6.1 is dead.
Much like the whole Volkswagen Group had its annual conference separate from its many sub-brands, the commercial side also had a meeting to talk about a coronavirus-impacted 2020 and what lies ahead. During the virtual press conference, a couple of noteworthy announcements were made regarding the T7 and Amarok.
VW Commercial Vehicles CEO Carsten Intra took the stage to announce the T7 will be unveiled sometime in June. However, we should point out he was strictly referring to the passenger-oriented Multivan version rather than the workhorse van. That's because the T6.1 will soldier on as a commercial vehicle after the T7's arrival.
We also get to learn the all-new Multivan is going to be offered right from the start with a plug-in hybrid powertrain. Speaking of electrification, the T7 will be joined in 2022 by the much-hyped ID Buzz purely electric van in Europe. A year later, the Microbus revival with an EV twist will go on sale in the United States where it's expected to be sold only as a passenger vehicle whereas Europe will get a commercial variant as well.
As far as the Amarok is concerned, the second generation of VW's midsize pickup will debut in 2022. It will be based on the new Ford Ranger but with a proprietary design as Carsten Intra promises the truck is going to have a "clear design signature of VW." He goes on to say it'll boast "inimitable accents in terms of design and trim" to create a "genuine VW with a clear design signature of VW."
Production of the original Amarok ended last year at the company's Hanover plant in Germany where the ID Buzz will be built alongside high-end EVs from the VW Group's premium brands. The next-gen truck is going to be assembled by Ford at its Silverton factory in South Africa where major investments are being made to ramp up production capacity.
As part of the VW-Ford tie-up, the German brand will build a compact van for the Blue Oval based on the latest Caddy. The next Transit Connect will be manufactured at VW's Poznan facility in Poland where the sister model Caddy has been in production since last year.
Ford will use the VW Group's MEB platform for future EVs assembled at the Cologne factory in Germany. Also part of the deal is a next-gen Transporter commercial vehicle twinned with the Transit Custom coming in 2023 from Ford's factory in Kocaeli, Turkey.