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Volkswagen Pickup Concept Car - (Australia)

March 1st, 2009
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Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is presenting the Volkswagen Pickup for the first time in Australia at the 2009 Melbourne International Motor Show. The innovative Volkswagen Pickup made its global debut at the 2008 International Automobile Exhibition in Hanover, Germany.

“New products, new markets, new technology – the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles brand continues to experience sustainable and profitable growth,” said Stephan Schaller, Ceo of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles at Hanover press conference on 23rd September, 2008.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles will be the first volume manufacturer in Europe to enter the 1-tonne Pickup segment, with its high growth global potential. According to Schaller, the key markets for the Volkswagen Pickup are South America – especially Brazil. He also sees South Africa, Australia and South East Asia as being important markets for this universally adaptable commercial vehicle. The vehicle will also be introduced into the European market. Overall sales projections for the new Pickup amount to around 100,000 units per year.

“The Volkswagen Pickup will certainly be a welcome and exciting fourth addition to our expanding range of light commercial vehicles,” commented Phil Clark, Director of Volkswagen Group Australia Commercial Vehicles. “Being the only premium European offering a product in the 1 tonne segment is a great opportunity for Volkswagen. I believe the Pickup will be one of the best selling models in the Volkswagen line-up.”

Features of the four-door and four-seat pickup concept vehicle were conceptualized after intensive discussions with emergency services and in-house specialists for emergency vehicles, and resulted in the concept being designed as a “Search and Rescue” vehicle (SAR). The basic technical layout of this pickup from Volkswagen – with dual cab and all-wheel drive – makes it an excellent vehicle for services provided by rescuers such as lifeguards.

It can be said in general that the pickup has been entirely redeveloped by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. The 5.18 meter long concept vehicle is not based on any familiar model series of the Group. However, synergies do exist between individual models. For example, the latest generation of highly advanced, torque- strong and at the same time fuel-saving common-rail turbo-diesels (TDI) is being used. To date, no pickups have made an appearance on the market with such pioneering fuel economy and emissions benefits of direct injection petrol and diesel engines, especially those being developed in Germany. The pickup from Volkswagen will be the first to fulfil these requirements.

The styling of the concept vehicle also evolved from a blank sheet of paper. The Pickup follows the new Volkswagen Design- DNA initially presented by the Volkswagen passenger car division in the form of the Scirocco and the just launched, new Golf. The pickup concept vehicle is the first commercial vehicle under the Volkswagen label to exhibit this DNA. Group design chief Walter de Silva had this to say: “We have created a selection of core elements that can be described as ‘historical DNA’. Successful new Volkswagen designs will take on this DNA to generate a feeling in the eye of the beholder that is familiar and yet new.”

This feeling also applies to the Pickup concept vehicle. The clear and powerful surfaces of its body are familiar. As is the precision with which individual body sections merge with one another. One especially noteworthy aspect for example, is the contour above the door handles that Klaus Bischoff, design chief responsible for the Volkswagen brand, refers to as the character line. On the one hand, it emphatically delineates the door and window surfaces from one another. On the other hand, and this is unusual and therefore all the more eye-catching, the line extends from the pickup’s C-pillar over the doors and into the front fender and bumper. It is a line that gives the overall vehicle a very unique contour. Conveying high-end quality are style elements such as the uncompromisingly horizontal layout of the radiator grille in which the VW logo is integrated and the headlights that are incorporated into the lines of the grille. They give the 1.9 meter wide front end an impressive and yet pleasing look. When it comes to width, the Pickup also scores points in the rear - specifically in the cargo bed. Unlike its direct competition, it is easy to load a Euro pallet sideways here.

The Pickup specific features of the concept reveal an entirely new visual aspect of models by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. In general, all body components are designed to be very robust. Specifically, the concept vehicle’s look is marked by details such as the f lared wheel wells, the charismatic structure of the C-pillar (that merges into the rear end), the roll bar on the side sections of the cargo bed and the large tailgate with integrated VW logo.

The Pickup study from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles was uncompromisingly designed as a type of automotive lifesaver.

Particularly noticeable here is the very f lat and therefore aerodynamic blue-light roof module with integrated searchlight that can be electrically swivelled in any direction from the interior or by remote control. During daylight hours, the blue light is also equipped with a very conspicuous high-power LED system. A similar intermittent strobe function (in blue light) in the front and rear f lasher lights also operates when the system is activated; that is why the actual turn signal function of the front f lashers was integrated in the in the lower bumper section in the mounting area of the fog lights. Also located in the front bumper is a cable winch. But none of this reduces the impact of features offered by the interior and cargo bed.

The scenario for a typical use of a Search and Rescue Pickup might be as follows: Lets use Stockton beach as an example. The operations centre reports a fisherman in an emergency situation. The specific area of the large expanses of Stockton Beach where the fisherman was swept away and the location of the fisherman in the water are known. Based on localisation of the call at the operations centre, the GPS data of the position are fed into the Pickup’s navigation system – by no means is this science fiction. The radio navigation system is controlled by a multifunctional touch screen and a completely redeveloped infotainment head unit. Also integrated here is a CB radio and a menu level for all climate control functions. The system display is located in the upper area of the centre console for ideal viewing and control by the driver and front passenger. Besides display of a map and pictograms, satellite images of the terrain can also be displayed. On the level below this are buttons for adjustments to the chassis and all-wheel drive (e.g. differential locks). Thanks to off-road-navigation, the lifeguards can reach the emergency location extremely quickly. A compass is also mounted in the upper instrument panel area for general use.

The fact is, the Pickup supports you better than any other vehicle now that the rescue operation has begun. Integrated in the front centre console, together with their charging shells, are two mobile CB radios; there are two others in the rear of the dual cab. In addition, powerful f lashlights are located next to the front seats. Also housed in the centre console, between the front seats and the individual seats in the rearm are two mobile navigation systems. Directly behind it is a modular case with the most important first aid medications, a defibrillator and binoculars. Two safety helmets are mounted in the roof liner in the rear for use on bodies of water with strong currents. In front of these, within easy reach of the driver and front passenger is the switch panel for operating the blue light and the signal horn. Other components in the roof console are the loudspeakers of the mobile radio system. The saltwater resistant interior was designed to be washable so that it can be cleaned lightning fast after an operation. The seats are covered with neoprene, and the liners also have zippers for easy removal and cleaning. Reflective fibres were also worked into the doors, making entry and exit safer at night; thanks to its large ref lective surfaces, the pickup can generally be recognised – even in darkness and from great distances.

Integrated in the side walls of the cargo bed are life vests and rescue buoys, lights, special throw lines, fire extinguishers, blankets, and – in the tailgate – a tool set.

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