Volkswagen Tanoak: What does its name mean? How is it pronounced?

The Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak is an excellently styled and attractive midsize pickup concept car, but what does its name mean and where does it come from?

The concept truck, which debuted at the 2018 New York Auto Show, is named after the tanoak, a tree species native to the Pacific or West Coast of the USA, which can grow to up to 135ft (41.2m) in height.

So, despite it looking like another hard-to-pronounce tribe/ethnic group, a la the Touareg, the Tanoak is pretty straightforward to say. It’s just “tan-oak”.

The Atlas part of the name references the fact that the concept truck is based on the Atlas crossover, and the company’s now ubiquitous MQB flexible platform. As Volkswagen points out, this is the first pickup truck concept to be based on the unibody MQB layout.

And, yes, the Atlas SUV is named after the Greek god condemned to holding up the sky for eternity, thereby keeping us all safe. He’s commonly pictured in art as carrying the Earth on his shoulders.

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Derek Fung

Derek Fung

Editor-at-large — Derek has a lifelong love for all things automotive, from the dullest Camry to record shattering Bugattis. Prior to starting up Between the Axles he was a reviewer for CNET Australia and the founding editor of its Car Technology channel. [Read more]

Volkswagen Tanoak: What does its name mean? How is it pronounced?