Volkswagen is considering developing an electric pickup truck and an electric SUV for the US market under the Scout brand. The two models are to be produced in the USA from 2026.
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The news was broken by the Wall Street Journal and the portal TechCrunch, who expect that the Group’s supervisory board will decide on the plan this week. According to TechCrunch, VW is “close to establishing a new dedicated electric vehicle company in the US”.
Volkswagen acquired the rights to the Scout brand name, which is based on a model made by former US manufacturer International Harvester, when it acquired Navistar in 2020. International Harvester was a manufacturer of farm machinery, cars and trucks that was dissolved in 1985. The truck division then continued as Navistar.
The Scout was a two-door off-road vehicle built between 1961 and 1980. The graphics that have now been published, however, show a four-door off-roader. In keeping with the brand’s history, these are reportedly “rugged off-roaders”, not comfortable road-going SUVs. Many details about the two vehicles, such as the platform, are not yet known.
According to the sources, VW initially wants to invest 100 million US dollars (currently about 95 million euros) in the company, which is yet to be founded. The main purpose is to create the structure and build up the management – the number of employees Scout will employ is not mentioned. It is possible, however, that VW will also bring external investors on board.
In order to reduce the dependence on China, VW boss Herbert Diess has turned his attention to the US market in recent weeks and months. At the end of April there were reports that VW wanted to build a second US factory next to the existing plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. According to Reuters information, the ID. Buzz for the US market, but there was also talk of an electric pickup. Whether this would also be launched under the VW brand was not mentioned at the time.
The VW Group had already announced that it would invest several billion euros in North America in the coming years and launch 25 new electric models there by 2030 – these would then account for 55 per cent of US sales.
Update 12 May 2022
Volkswagen has now officially confirmed the previously leaked plan to launch an all-electric pick-up and a “rugged” electric SUV in the US under the Scout brand. The supervisory board approved the plan at its meeting on Wednesday.
The vehicles will be designed, developed and produced in the United States for US customers. To this end, a separate, independent company will be founded in the US this year, with which the Volkswagen Group will develop the electric vehicle market for the US brand Scout. The first prototypes are to be presented next year and series production is to start in 2026.
“Electrification offers a historic opportunity to enter the highly attractive pick-up and R-SUV segment now as a Group,” says VW Group CEO Herbert Diess. “It underlines our ambitions to become a major player in the US market.”
There will be two major innovations for Scout in the process, VW confirms: First, the Wolfsburg-based company is announcing its own e-platform for the off-road vehicles. Scout will “rely on a new technical platform concept that allows for more authentic pick-ups and RUVs than the Volkswagen Group’s existing portfolio”.
Secondly, Scout will have a new management structure. “The company we will establish this year will be a separate unit and brand within the Volkswagen Group to be managed independently,” says VW CFO Arno Antlitz. “This aligns with the new Group steering model – small units that act agilely and have access to our tech platforms to leverage synergies.”
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