Magna to develop pickup and SUV for Volkswagen’s US brand Scout

Volkswagen has commissioned Magna to develop two electric models for its US brand Scout. Magna confirmed a corresponding report when asked by the Austrian news agency APA. The contract is worth 450 million euros.

Image: Scout

The two electric vehicles, an SUV and a pickup truck, will be developed by Magna in Graz. The Austrian paper Kleine Zeitung broke the news and said development work at Magna in Graz and the USA was in “full swing” to prepare for series production by late 2026.

Previous talks dubbed Magna as a Scout production partner, but Volkswagen announced in March that it would build its plant in the USA for this purpose. This plant will be exclusive to Scout, although there has been speculation about a joint plant with Audi. Kleine Zeitung also named Audi the “technology supplier for the project”. Exactly what technology the VW brand company may contribute and how this will be coordinated with Magna remains to be seen.

The ties between the companies reach far back, in any case. As the paper points out, Volkswagen commissioned the Austrian company to develop the VW Golf Country 30 years ago. Later, the specialists at Magna-Steyr developed the Audi TT for production readiness. Moreover, Magna has an electric car platform utilised by the Fisker Ocean, among others. The manufacturer also built half a million Mercedes G-Class cars – which will soon see electrification as EQG.

Back to today, not much is known about the new models for Scout. Volkswagen released only literal sketches. Critical technological data on the drives or the battery have yet to emerge, and Scout confirmed a dedicated EV platform. In its report, Kleine Zeitung stated a range of about 400 miles (640 km).

In 2020, Volkswagen bought the commercial vehicle manufacturer Navistar, which most recently held the rights to the Scout brand. These initially belonged to the agricultural machinery manufacturer International Harvester, which built off-road vehicles in the US between 1960 and 1980. The Scout was a two-door off-road vehicle built between 1961 and 1980. 

In any communications, Scout emphasises that it is an “independent US company with the support of the Volkswagen Group” – mainly through its management. Scott Keogh serves as Scout CEO after heading VW and Audi in North America for years. The company also recently appointed Jan Spies as Chief Production Officer of Scout Motors from the beginning of 2024, overseeing the production of the electric pickup truck and SUV. He comes from Volkswagen’s mega plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which opened in 2011 and now produces more than 250,000 vehicles a year. 

The Scout plant in South Carolina will cost Volkswagen about two billion dollars. In March 2023, the South Carolina House approved a $1.3 billion package for the new electric vehicle plant. VW added that it plans to hire around 4,000 workers at the site near the state’s capital, Columbia. (in German)


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