We have just witnessed the global unveiling of the Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak concept, which is a mid-sized pick-up truck that rides on the brand’s versatile MQB platform. It’s a 5.4 metre-long ute that will take on the likes of the Honda Ridgeline, but Volkswagen’s North American CEO, Hinrich J. Woebcken said, “there are no plans right now for production.”

Woebcken’s team swears that the pick-up is “just a concept” that’s built to gauge market reaction and showcase the MQB’s flexibility, so there’s real no way of telling if the Atlas Tanoak will make it to production. Well, that’s if we base things on official statements.

But between the sound bites and official statements, some things were clear – Woebcken and his team are keen on building the pick-up, and they are actively gaming out scenarios that would justify the move. The key to this? Women.

According to Automotive News, there may be an opportunity for VW in targeting the right demographic. Statistics show that in 2017, women purchased 18% of all pick-ups, 21% of which are mid-size pickups (according to Edmunds). With the possible exception of the Honda Ridgeline, very few pick-ups are marketed to target female buyers.

Kelley Blue Book analyst Rebecca Lindland said VW needs to lure customers if it wants to grow, and that marketing the Tanoak towards women is something that the automaker could explore. “No one is doing that right now,” said Lindland. “If you look at what Ford is doing with its messaging aimed at women with the Escape, a campaign like that could work for Volkswagen.”

It’s not to say that the Tanoak should be pink and petite if it ever gets to market, but its marketing should emphasise the attributes of a unibody pick-up that may be attractive to women.

For example, a unibody construction gives a smooth, car-like ride quality versus its body-on-frame competitors. Its outward appearance is bold, but its interior has the luxury feel of an Audi sedan. Its 4Motion all-wheel-drive system is less cumbersome than rivalling models, while its suspension lift feature (at least on the concept) should provide a confident, commanding view of the road. Perhaps most importantly, it fits in most standard home garages in the US!

Volkswagen has a well-established enthusiast community that is loyal to the brand, but it has a harder time enticing buyers from other brands. “A unibody lifestyle pick-up marketed at female buyers when the other brands are making their trucks look like angry bodybuilders might be an opportunity,” read the report.

To that end, Woebcken conceded that the idea warranted a closer study. It’s no secret that Volkswagen is absent in the US pick-up segment, but if it decides to build a version of the Tanoak and concentrates its marketing game on attracting female buyers, it may not be too late to play. In fact, Woebcken says the Atlas Tanoak might be the only way for the brand to take a shot at the pick-up market.

The Atlas Tanoak concept is powered by a 3.6 litre V6 FSI engine that produces 280 PS and 350 Nm of torque. Drive goes to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission and a 4Motion all-wheel drive system. Its closest competitors would be the Honda Ridgeline, Chevrolet Colorado and Ford Ranger. Out of the three, the Ridgeline is the only unibody pick-up. Would you be interested?

GALLERY: 2018 Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak Concept