VW brand Scout begins US factory construction

Volkswagen's new US electric vehicle brand Scout has laid the foundation stone for its future production facility near Columbia in the state of South Carolina. Even though construction has now started with a considerable delay, the first cars are expected to roll off the production line there at the end of 2026.

Image: Scout Motors

Construction was originally scheduled to begin in mid-2023. However, Scout is sticking to its plan to start production at the end of 2026. At full capacity, the plant should be able to produce more than 200,000 Scout vehicles per year. Sales of the vehicles are to start shortly after the start of production. It is not known how much Scout plans to ramp up production.

The 650-hectare Scout site is located in Blythewood near Columbia in the centre of South Carolina. In the German automotive industry, the north-western corner of South Carolina is quite well known, as the BMW plant in Spartanburg is located there. But the harbour city of Charleston in the southeast is also relevant for the automotive industry: Mercedes-Benz Vans has its US production base there, and Volvo also operates its US plant there. In future, the EX90 and Polestar 3 electric SUVs will also be built there. Scout hopes that the plant 20 miles north of Columbia will give it “unrivaled access to major highways, ports of Charleston and Savannah, and colleges and universities focused on automotive engineering”.

Scout Motors will build pickup trucks and “robust” SUVs based on a new electric platform at the plant. Details of this off-road-focussed EV tech platform are not yet known.

The current announcement is less about the vehicles themselves and more about the laying of the foundation stone and the history of the brand. Volkswagen acquired the rights to the Scout brand name, which goes back to a model of the former US manufacturer International Harvester, with the takeover of Navistar in 2020. International Harvester was a manufacturer of agricultural machinery, cars and trucks that was dissolved in 1985. The truck division was then continued as Navistar. The Scout was a two-door off-road vehicle built between 1961 and 1980. At the ceremony in Blythewood, Jim Poiry, a former plant manager at the original Scout factory in Fort Wayne, Indiana, presented the Scout Motors team with a brick from that factory. This brick will “help build the foundation for the new Production Center.”

“Today is less about construction and a building and more about a calling and a community,” says Scott Keogh, President and CEO of Scout Motors. “We’re here to celebrate the revitalization of an American icon and the reshoring of American jobs. On this land – with our hands and with our technology – we will build great vehicles.”



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